The city’s police services board is offering its support into a look at whether the role of the Thunder Bay’s bylaw enforcement department should be expanded.

Thunder Bay Police Service officers deal with a high volume of calls related to nuisance complaints such as loud music or barking dogs outside of the bylaw enforcement office’s hours of operation. The office is only open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“It is not effective or efficient and I think there is definitely room to change not only the format, but the scope of the work they do,” said Sylvie Hauth, the city’s police chief, during Tuesday’s police services board meeting.

By offloading those calls from the police to the bylaw enforcement office, Hauth said the result would be “tremendous,” noting that sending two officers to respond to a complaint of a barking dog at 2 a.m. isn’t a wise use of police officers.

During city council’s June 15 meeting, a resolution was passed to look at potential changes to the nuisance bylaw and that report is due back to council in September. City police were identified as a stakeholder in the report.

The Thunder Bay Police Services Board voted in favour of supporting that resolution.

Police services board member and Westfort Coun. Kristen Oliver said nuisance bylaw complaints are the what she receives the most calls about as a councillor.

“The review of bylaw is conceptual at this time but investigating how we can enhance bylaw enforcement to be more proactive rather than complaint-driven while alleviating pressure on the Thunder Bay Police Service could better serve the community as a whole,” she said.

Also, with fines being issued, the cost of expanding enforcement could be offset by that revenue, she added.

(This story was originally published on June 27, 2020)

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