I am interested to know if all recommendations from the Summerside Police Services review were implemented. I remember reading at the time, approximately three years ago, that all recommendations would be completed. Did this happen? What did the consulting team comment on about part-time police officers?
I know that when I was hired in 1972 and up to 1990 police graduates from the Atlantic Police Academy were hired full time. Then they were placed on probation, moving up the ranks from third class, to second class to first class constable, corporal, sergeant, and higher. This system was designed to properly train police officers with the goal of retaining long-term members, giving all members an equal opportunity for advancement as well building morale between ranks. In other words, growing a police services with members wishing to make a full-time career in the Summerside Police Services Policing. In 1990 the system changed to hiring part-time police officers, usually replacing members on sick leave, disability or members retiring. I have always questioned this part-time status. I concluded many years ago as to what is a part-time police officer?
When cadets graduate for the Atlantic Police Academy they should be hired full time. They are selected through a very tough criteria, take the training, and graduate. With a system as we have now qualified officers are hired part-time. Summerside Police Services have lost hundreds of good qualified male and female officers, due to them moving on to full time positions. I also know the Collective Agreement protects these part-time officers, as well full-time officers. The City's idea of hiring part-time officer was simple, not to pay full benefits/etc. Large Municipal Police Services, including the RCMP, do not have part-time officer status. I was talking with an officer from a large police services in Ontario, and he was shocked at such a thing. Never heard of such a thing. Summerside Police Services is continuing to hire part-timers – they come for a while and then move on to full time positions with other Police Services – solely because they cannot obtain full time positions here. In my opinion, a police officer cannot be compared to other contract positions within the City. Police officers go through extensive training in law, conflict resolution, self-defence etc. Once hired, they take an oath of office, giving them wide discretionary powers in protecting the safety of people and property. Police work today is very serious business, and all police services should be hiring full time officers for the reasons I have mentioned.
From my career in Police Services, spanning forty years, I would suggest the Summerside City Council review this whole process do away with this hiring practice of part-time positions to only posting full time positions. This would be better for management, senior supervisors and certainly for full time members enhancing their police career. Part-time officers come here for experience, then the majority moves on to full time positions. This system in my opinion, is ready for an in-depth review, in terms of making our Police Services the best we can.
I do believe an answer from Chief David Poirier and the Police Committee, would shine some light on my request.