Chief Bill Blair Guest Lecture 35 year career In other professions there is a varying degree of entry, but in policing

you come in from the bottom. Everyone comes in through this entry point. He s done a bunch of stuff that police officers do, he was an investigator, he was undercover, etc. Climbed the ladder to the position of the chief Our impression of the police comes from the TV or the News, we have this impression that they fight crime, make tickets, etc. Only 20 percent of what they do. They re mostly responders, they often get called into social issues, etc. They don t only enforce the law. 50-60 years ago their role was to neighbourhood maintenance, but they organized into a professional model of policing , where people would call them and they would speedily respond. However, this was a problem because this made them isolated from the public through this system. During this period of time crime rose dramatically.

His experience with a police officer He became a police officer in 1976, first assignment in 51 division. Technology impact was huge, they came up with smaller cars, he couldn t fit so he became a foot patrol. Regent park is a very diverse community, the place did not have a particular good relationship with the police. After 3-4 months he got to know the people, most of them were families that were good honest people. -> it changed the way that he saw things, he realized that the police s role was not just enforcing the law, but to increase the quality of the lives of people and teach them about social justice. 1995, they had a problem in the same division. The relationship between the community and the police had deteriorated to the lowest, there was also a labour problem in relationships between the officers and management. He was sent as the commander of 51, they wrote that he was sent to the valley of the death. His observations: o The guy in charge of the investigation came in and told him about the shitty situation between the police and the neighbourhood, but they were making more arrests this year rather than last year. The investigator was convinced that this was good news. However, the community didn t know if the police were the good guys or not because they wouldn t dress up in uniform 40 percent of the time (useful for arresting drug dealers) o He went to an elementary school and usually the kids run towards him and ask him questions, but this time they ran away from him. This had a huge impact on him, he went to the officers and sent them towards the elementary school. They sent those same officers to the school every day, 6 weeks. Over time, the people came to trust

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those two guys. Trust has to be built on mutual respect, which doesn t happen overnight. He put a lot more people in uniform because he believes the role of the police is more to reassure the public, not merely catching bad guys. Doing this, they began to have an impact in the communities, the communities were not afraid to go to the park, they were not afraid to interact with the neighbours. Violent crime went down 40 percent. People realized they d be treated with dignity and respect. In doing this, he also realized that the police became a lot happier. Authority of the police primarily come from above, their power comes directly from the code. However, what has to be earned is the moral authority, which comes from people, its not something that can be learned in a school. The officers started working harder, people started coming into work more often, they were much happier. Instead of giving them a quota of arrests to make, they taught them about road safety and saving lives. Its about applying the legal authority in making the city a better place, understanding the reasoning why you do things

What he s done as chief Looked at what percentage of his people were in uniform, 40 percent of the force was plains clothes officer. The prestige of policing came from being plains clothes, uniformed cops were looked at as 2nd tier. Its not the uniform that is important, its what the uniform represents. The accessibility that it represents. He reduced the percentage from 40 to 20. He put name tags on his police staff, the name tags humanize the police. It helps them connect with the public. A lot of people thought it was about accountability, but for him personally it was a beginning of a trusting relationship, being upfront about who you are and what you are doing. He s tried to focus the officers attentions. Before, there was this thing called general patrol , where they d just drive around. Now, they try to provide them with assignments. Tremendous effort in putting police officers on foot and on bikes, making officers more accessible. There was a notion that once you are specialized, you are too special to help the general public. He put a lot of specialized officers in uniform so they can help the general public if need be. He thinks that police has more responsibility then crime prevention and law enforcement, they have a role to play in helping facilitate a socially just society. How they treat people will impact a variety of things, schools, youth organization, faith communtiies, business communities, etc. Relationship with them together will make a difference, it ll make a positive impact on if social programs are actually achieved. Young people

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are proud of their neighbourhood, they can find a job. The police want to work with everyone to make the city a better place to live. 6-7 years ago they switched from concentrating on the stats of the police outcomes to concentrating on the victims, the quality of life, etc. However, they are difficult to measure, the police s contributions are hard to measure, however he still thinks it is important. They used to set goals such as we ll arrest more bad guys , etc. Now his goals are improving life in the city, reducing victimization, etc. The police began something called community policing , the goal of which was for community engagement, community mobilization, and through these increasing the quality of life in the city. He thinks it is important to be neighbourhood focused. One of the challenges that they face is that they significantly increased the interactions between uniformed officers. These interactions are not always perceived as positive and one or both. When you stop young people in the corner and you ask them what they are doing, there are so many opportunities for that interaction to go bad, and this can cause fear and mistrust. The police make decisions that impact the quality of people s lives, it is tremendously important that they be very mindful of the influence of bias. Racism and bias is a huge problem in the police system, and society in general. Everyone has bias. To use force, they must hold the police in the highest standard of decision making to make sure the bias is not impacting their decisions. They struggle to find the balance between two harms, the role of the police and the possibility of disrespecting the public. The police has diversified in the last 35 years, 35 years ago they were all white. They tried to recruit a diverse number of people because they wanted a variety of perspectives. These police officers would help spread the trustiness of the police throughout neighbourhoods. The police is now diversified enough that they speak 80 different languages. Economic sustainability of policing is a huge issue right now 65 percent of all detained in Ontario right now have not been convicted yet

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