Po­lice seek three hires

Kingston Whig-Standard - - FRONT PAGE - IAN MACALPINE

Chief, con­sul­tant make pitch for adding three sergeants to ex­pand com­mu­ni­ca­tions cen­tre su­per­vi­sion to 24/7

Kingston Po­lice are look­ing for bud­get ap­proval to ap­point three full-time sergeants to su­per­vise their com­mu­ni­ca­tions cen­tre to help pri­or­i­tize calls on a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week ba­sis.

Cur­rently, a sergeant su­per­vises the day shift from Mon­day to Fri­day, with a civil­ian staff mem­ber su­per­vis­ing all other times.

The cost to pro­mote three se­nior con­sta­bles and hire three re­cruits to take their place calls for an in­crease of one per cent in the po­lice bud­get, said po­lice Chief Gilles Larochelle in an in­ter­view Wed­nes­day after a spe­cial meet­ing of the Po­lice Ser­vices Board.

Last year, city coun­cil ap­proved the po­lice bud­get of $36,037,832, an in­crease of $881,661 or a 2.508 per cent in­crease over the 2016 bud­get.

Coun­cil will start bud­get de­lib­er­a­tions later this month.

The spe­cial meet­ing was called so Larochelle and a spe­cial con­sul­tant hired by the po­lice could make their pitch to the board.

“As chief I don’t have the author­ity to ex­pand on the num­ber of ded­i­cated of­fi­cers I have,” Larochelle said. “If I, as chief, feel there’s a need to ex­pand the ser­vice, I need to seek per­mis­sion from my board.”

At the last po­lice board meet­ing in Septem­ber, Larochelle spoke of the need to have in­creased su­per­vi­sion in the com­mu­ni­ca­tions cen­tre by a sworn of­fi­cer.

The board wanted more in­for­ma­tion, so Larochelle had con­sul­tant Ta­mara McAllister, founder and CEO of ABEO Mo­dus, Inc., make a pre­sen­ta­tion on the sub­ject.

In her 15-minute sub­mis­sion, McAllister said the po­lice ser­vice com­mu­ni­ca­tions cen­tre is a higher-risk area both for staff in­side and of­fi­cers out in the com­mu­nity, and civil­ians shouldn’t be the ones mak­ing crit­i­cal po­lice de­ci­sions.

“You need some­one who is highly knowl­edge­able,” she said. “You need some­one that can also, based on the vol­ume of calls you have, know who to take off, if re­quired, for a pri­or­ity 3 to add to a pri­or­ity 1 or a 2.”

“You need some­one that un­der­stands the law fully and also can be ac­count­able for those de­ci­sions,” McAllister said. “When you have a sworn mem­ber, you have mo­bil­ity within the ser­vice to move those in­di­vid­u­als around and put them in dif­fer­ent ar­eas. You don’t have that with civil­ians.”

Po­lice board chair An­drea Risk, mus­ing if more sergeants are nec­es­sary in the com­mu­ni­ca­tions cen­tre, made a com­par­i­son to a hospi­tal emer­gency room where the doc­tors do the crit­i­cal care while the nurses and other health-care pro­fes­sion­als pri­or­i­tize in triage whom the doc­tors should see first.

“They can pri­or­i­tize the way a call cen­tre does and then the things that are most ur­gent are then put in or­der and dealt with by the physi­cians,” Risk said.

McAllister said the physi­cian still has the ul­ti­mate de­ci­sion whether the pa­tient was triaged cor­rectly.

She also said that in a hospi­tal set­ting, an ex­pe­ri­enced nurse is manag­ing the ER and over­look­ing the work of the staff con­duct­ing triage.

“In a civil­ian con­cept, you don’t have that. They don’t have the ed­u­ca­tion nor the back­ground to be mak­ing the de­ci­sions when it comes to crit­i­cal de­ci­sions.”

In a po­lice set­ting, McAllister said, a civil­ian would be un­com­fort­able telling an of­fi­cer they’re in­cor­rect on the pri­or­ity level of a call, but a sergeant can eas­ily do it.

“That’s why when you’re look­ing at safety is­sues and crit­i­cal is­sues that you need some­one can tell an of­fi­cer ‘this is what you’ll be do­ing,’ and there’s a hi­er­ar­chy of com­mu­ni­ca­tion,” she said.

Larochelle said after the meet­ing the ad­di­tion of the trio of sergeants is about manag­ing risk and pri­or­i­tiz­ing calls.

“A lot of pres­sure is put on civil­ians to make those de­ci­sions,” he said. “In do­ing so, we feel now we’re able to man­age the calls a lit­tle bit bet­ter with a more qual­ity ser­vice there.”

Next week he’ll present his bud­get to the po­lice board, which will present that to city coun­cil dur­ing bud­get de­lib­er­a­tions in late Novem­ber.

“There will be some strain on the po­lice bud­get, but I do think it’s an im­por­tant piece that the board needs to con­sider and that city coun­cil as well needs to un­der­stand in ad­di­tion to the com­mu­nity,” Larochelle said.

If ap­proved, the three new sergeants would be in the com­mu­ni­ca­tions cen­tre by the new year.

You need some­one who is highly knowl­edge­able. You need some­one that can also, based on the vol­ume of calls you have, know who to take off, if re­quired, for a pri­or­ity 3 to add to a pri­or­ity 1 or a 2.” con­sul­tant, Ta­mara McAllister


Ta­mara McAllister, founder and CEO of the con­sult­ing firm ABEO Mo­dus Inc., speaks at a Kingston Po­lice Ser­vices Board meet­ing as po­lice Chief Gilles Larochelle looks on at Kingston Po­lice Head­quar­ters on Wed­nes­day.

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