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LETTER: Police Association takes issue with councillor's comments

'I encourage the next mayor and councillors to reach out to the association to answer questions before making statements,' says SSMPA president
20180803-Police building exterior summer-DT
Sault Ste. Marie Police Service building. Darren Taylor/SooToday

SSMPA President Joshua Teresinski wrote this rebuttal to the recent comments made by Coun. Luke Dufour regarding police patrols.

I understand it is election time, but I expect more from Mr. (Luke) Dufour; the least of which is for him to make factual comments to the public.

I am upset and disappointed that a city councillor would make false statements regarding the Police Union Contract without understanding how the process works.

I have never been contacted by Mr. Dufour to discuss this matter.

Our Patrol distribution system is fair and required to address all incidents across the city. On a nightshift we will have a minimum of 8-10 officers on patrol, and are placed in our four zones with a minimum of two officers to each zone. The patrol vehicles are a balance of single and double officer vehicles.

On a dayshift we will have a minimum of four officers on patrol and are placed in our four zones. 

Obviously, we will have more officers patrolling the city if there are officers available, but these numbers represent the minimums that our contract demands.

There have been nights where we have fallen short of these minimums, which poses a huge safety concern, and is frustrating for our officers.

The Police Services Board has finally allowed our Police Chief to hire three officers, but this has been an ongoing issue due to an increase in violent and mental health calls for service.”

I encourage the next mayor and councillors to reach out to the association to answer questions before making statements without any knowledge of the restraints the Union and Police Service are facing. 

There may be minimums for each zone, but all officers or patrol units will attend to calls throughout the city.

The logic of Mr. Dufour’s statement suggests if there is a crime in one zone another patrol vehicle car won’t respond. A majority of officers are responding, and take pride in this community and it is unfortunate to see Mr. Dufour make comments about the Police Collective Agreement without gathering correct information or reaching out to the Union.

“In my 16 years of policing, I find there is always a detachment from the actual boots on the ground, and the politics of the board, that results in misinformation being relayed to the community.”

Joshua Teresinski has been the President of the SSMPA for the last 3 years and has 4 other Executives (Brad Baber, Steve Shier, Spencer Guild and Kris Ninnes) that represent approx. 198 Sworn Officers and Civilians.

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