About 10 years ago police and union officials were summoned to a meeting with representatives of the Manitoba Department of Justice. The purpose of the meeting was to announce that the province had engaged the services of a consultant for the purpose of drafting a new police act and to invite police input.
In 2007 after years of inaction by the provincial government Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz announced that the City of Winnipeg would establish a Police Commission.
Once it was explained to Katz that a police Commission would usurp his power to personally run the police department (through the office of CAO) the mayor quickly changed his mind and announced the city would be forming a Police Advisory Board. A board with no authority, just another group that could offer advice to the mayor and council.
In 2007 a by-law was enacted creating the Winnipeg Police Advisory Board.
Also in 2009 the new Manitoba Police Services Act was passed. Only Part 2 of the Act, which creates the Manitoba Police Commission, has been proclaimed. Part of the mandate of the Manitoba Police Commission is to develop training materials for municipal police boards as well as to conduct the training. Portions of the Act that have not as yet been proclaimed require that each municipality that has a police department also have a police board.
Also in 2009, once the provincial legislation was passed the Winnipeg Police Advisory Boards was disbanded.
Once the Police Services Act is proclaimed in its entirety, the mandate of the municipal police boards will include:
1) After consulting with the police chief, establish priorities and objectives for the police service;
(a) establish policies for the effective management of the police service;
(b) direct the police chief and monitor his or her performance;
(c) ensure that the police chief establishes programs and strategies to implement the priorities and objectives established by the board for the police service;
(d) ensure that community needs and values are reflected in the policing priorities, objectives, programs and strategies;
(e) ensure that police services are delivered in a manner consistent with community needs, values and expectations; and
(f) act as a liaison between the community and the police service.
Lastly, once the municipal police boards are constituted it will be the police board that appoints “a person with prescribed qualifications to serve as the chief of the municipal police service.”
Since 2009 the province has done little other than name the Provincial Police Commission. The Municipal Police Boards are still off in the distance.
All of that to say this: Because the province has been dragging its feet for a decade, Winnipeg’s next chief of police will not be hired by a police board as is the practice right across Canada. Instead, the next chief will be hired by Phil (three monkeys) Sheegl.