Hamilton Police Services Board for September 16, 2013

Live Video at 4pm

Summary

The Hamilton Police Services Board (PSB) meets Monday and will discuss the process to replace Chief Glenn De Caire, Chief Glenn De Caire surprised everyone a few weeks ago announcing his decision to not seek a second term as Hamilton’s Chief of Police. He leaves office on December 31, 2014.

Monday evening, the Hamilton Police Services Board will begin the processing of deciding who will succeed him as Chief of Police.

Police use of lethal force is a significant item of public debate. During the meeting, Chief De Caire will present his recommendations for how to equip more frontline officers with CEWs.

The PSB will also discuss moving their meetings from the current cramped quarters of the police headquarters board room to another venue.


Full Agenda

Items of Wider Interest
CCTV Cameras | Conductive Energy Weapons Expansion | Venue Change


Note: HPS Board agendas are one big PDF file. Beside each item is the page number {#} within agenda PDF

Presentations / Delegations

Consent Agenda

Discussion Agenda

Closed Session


Monthly Report

De Caire’s monthly public report to the PSB highlights two items. A decrease in collisions on Hamilton’s roads in the first eight months of 2013 and the Woman in Law Hamilton Habitat of Humanity Build.

Collisions are down 8% in the first eight months of 2013, representing 463 fewers collisions. De Caire’s report states “This is 436 less chances for drivers and passengers to be seriously injured in a collision in our City.”

Conductive Energy Weapons (Tasers)

Chief De Caire recommends the PSB request City Council to fund an expansion of CEWs issued to HPS officers to expand their availability to frontline constables.  At present, CEWs are available to sergeants and above. The province, in the wake of public debate about police use of fatal force, changed regulations to allow CEWs to be issued to constables.

The total cost of the expansion will be $992,462.

HPS currently has 66 CEWs, the proposal is to increase this number by 150 CEWs.

HPS started using CEWs in 2003 when the Emergency Response Unit added them on July 29, 2003. Supervisors were given access to CEWs in October 2004.

Currently CEWs are carried by acting sergeants and above, depending on assignment.

236 of the force’s 794 sworn officers are qualified to carry CEWs, approximately 30% of officers.

CEW_Chart_HPSIn 2012, CEWs were used 49 times, compared to 22 times in 2011. Of the 49 uses, 35 were “display only”.

The 49 incidents are categorized by police as:

  • 17 – “Emotionally Disturbed/Mentally Ill Persons”
  • 12 – “Dynamic Entry”
  • 9 – “Other Incidents, which are general arrests involving assaultive subjects”
  • 6 – “High Risk Arrests where an individual was armed or thought to be armed with a weapon”
  • 6 – “Disturbances, usually involving Liquor License Act violations”

Police say 18 of these incidents involved a suspect carrying or displaying a weapon, 13 of which “involved an edged weapon of some type”

CCTV Program

Hamilton Police have 16 cameras in five different areas of the city: Hess Village, Concession Street, Ottawa Street, James Street North, and King Street in the Downtown Core.

The cameras record and the recordings are retained for two weeks. The recordings can be used by investigators, but only if the recording is requested within 72 hours of the incidents, says the report being presented to the PSB. If the request is received more than 72 hours after the event, the video is not given to the investigator, says the report.

The two-week retention is to allow for requests to be processed for video, police say they cannot process requests within 72 hours, and is legal.

The report follows revelations that Hamilton Police were violating guidelines provided by the provincial privacy commissioner.

Police were not providing annual reports on their CCTV use, were not clear how long their were retaining and using video, and failures to properly audit the program.

The report says these failures have been corrected and reporting will be done in the future.

Budget Variance Report

The police budget to the end of July is within expectations and variances are minor.

2014 Budget to Council

City Council is directing the PSB to present a 0% budget increase for 2014. The CEWs already represent a budget increase, and a new contract with the Police Association will likely include an increase.

Last year’s budget was a showdown, we’ll see what this year will bring. The PSB has yet to announce when they’ll present their budget to the public. This usually occurs during the second half of November.

Change of Venue

The Police Services Board will consider changing the venue for their meetings from the board room in police headquarters. At present, the public must enter the police station, go to the third floor, hope a HPS officer is at both of the locked doors between the staircase and the board room, and then squeeze into the cramped board room to watch the meeting.

City Hall’s Council Chambers is the likely candidate for a new venue.