Clunis: Police inspector general

CBC News ·  Oct 02, 2020

Devon Clunis, Canada’s first Black police chief, is now Ontario’s first inspector general of policing, the government announced Friday. (CBC News)

Former Winnipeg Police Chief to oversee Ontario Police

Ontario has appointed its first ever inspector general of policing, and chosen Devon Clunis, Canada’s first Black police chief, to fill the role.

The province announced the new “oversight” role — intended to enhance policing services and increase public trust in the province — in a news release Friday. 

Clunis joined the Winnipeg Police Service in 1987 and served as Winnipeg’s police chief from 2012-2016. After his retirement, he worked as a consultant with the police. 

“I am delighted to welcome Mr. Clunis as Ontario’s first Inspector General of Police,” said solicitor general Sylvia Jones in the news releasee. 

“With his proven track record as an exceptional and transformational police leader, Mr. Clunis’ contribution will be invaluable as we continue our work to ensure Ontarians receive the modern, efficient and high-quality policing services they deserve.”

In this new role, Clunis will be responsible for setting up an Inspectorate of Policing. The inspectorate will provide policing “oversight” and ensure “effective policing services” are provided across the province.

“The inspectorate that he will establish will improve transparency and accountability to the public and help increase trust between the public and their police services,” said Jones.

It is unclear how the inspectorate will align with Ontario’s other police watchdog agencies, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD).

The SIU is responsible for investigating circumstances involving police that have resulted in a death, serious injury, or allegations of sexual assault, while the OIPRD receives, manages and oversees all complaints about police in Ontario

Many in Ontario have called for police forces to be defunded, but Premier Doug Ford said he had no plans for that back in June.

“I don’t believe in that for a second,” Ford said.

“I think we need strong police within the communities. What we do need to do is have a higher standard. We need for focus on more training.”

In August, the Ford government announced it would be spending $25 million to hire 200 more Ontario Provincial Police officers.

The move came following a report on mental health, occupational stress injuries and suicide by members of the force.

New leader says police about more than just dealing with crime

Following his retirement, Clunis told CBC Manitoba that he wanted to see his replacement recognize the importance of building safe, healthy communities and the need to tackle the deep social issues he believes are often at the root of crime.

In a previous interview with CBC News, he said policing is about more than just dealing with crime.

“Yes, we are here to enforce the law,” said Clunis. “But, we can do it in a very compassionate way that builds a very strong relationship with the community that we serve.

Source: CBC News

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