MEETING PREVIEW: Guelph Police Services Board for April 20, 2023

Is it oddly ironic that the Guelph Police Services Board is meeting on 4/20? It’s a quirk of the calendar, but there’s no smoke in this agenda as the Police Board will tackle some fairly ordinary items like financial and human resources matters. There will also be a presentation about police assaults, the quarterly professional standards report and Chief Gord Cobey’s monthly report.

NOTE: This meeting takes place virtually at 2:30 pm but it will be broadcast on Guelph Police’s YouTube page.


Assaults Against Police – There’s no report attached to the agenda, but given the fact that there was an incident as recent as last week where police were assaulted by a suspect while on the job. Phil Perrins, president of the Guelph Police Association, will lead this presentation.

KPMG Review – There’s no specific report attached to this item either, but there are four presenters including staff from KMPG and members of service. Perhaps this might have something to do with the first item on the consent agenda below.

KPMG Staffing Service Delivery Review – Last year, Guelph Police hired KPMG to review staffing levels and service delivery in order to find some over efficiencies. One of the things report observed, unsurprisingly, is that Guelph is rapidly growing and that when the police increased the number of officers, it resulted in a positive effect on the crime rate.

In terms of KPMG’s recommendations, they have six including adjusted patrol schedules that overlap during peak times, a realignment of investigative units, and increasing staff in the area of patrol and investigations. One of the six recommendations, that senior leadership be increased to allow for more strategy and staff development, has already been completed.

This report will be taken back be staff for further consideration, and the board will only vote to receive it as information.

Professional Standards Q1 Report – Although no details about any of these complaints or filings have been provided, the Service did provide the numbers and in the first quarter of this year there were 20 new complaints about Guelph Police filed through the Office of the Independent Police Review Director. Of those, 12 were referred to Professional Standards, and eight are still open as of this report. In other news, a Chief’s Complaint that was initiated in 2018 will finally be heard in front of the Ontario Civilian Police Commission sometime during this quarter.

Human Resources Report: Member Appointments – There’s one new appointment for April and it’s University of Guelph student Lauren Dafoe who will take up a fourth-month position in a paid co-op placement in the Executive Services – Public Information Office.

December 2022 Financial Variance Report – At the end of the 2022 fiscal year, the Guelph Police Service had a positive variance worth $2.17 million. Most of the fiscal indicators were green, but the one red spot is still overtime, which at $91,000 last year was an overall increase from 2021. As for the fate of the variance, staff are recommending that $540,000 go to the WSIB Reserve Fun, that $790,000 go to the Police Operating Contingency Reserve, and that $840,000 go to the Police Capital Reserve. These directions still have to be approved by city council after getting the approval of the board.

Board Correspondence Report – Letters to the board this month include one from the Canadian Association of Police Governance about its Notice of Annual General Meeting and Call for Nominations & Strategic Priorities, while another letter, from the same source, concerns the Governance CACOLE (Canadian Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement) Conference. A letter of congratulations to a recent hire is in the outgoing mail.

Human Resources Strategies Annual Report – This information report breaks down the human resources picture at the service last year, although technically it is under the Items for Discussion portion of the meeting. What information is in it? An overview of how many people are celebrating big milestones at the service this year, various recruitment and outreach initiatives, career development and training opportunities, and wellness initiatives.

Of particular note is the forward look at potential retirements and attrition rates in the next five years, and the service projects that about 13 per cent of the current headcount will retire in the next five years. There are also still some issues with accommodations and leaves with 11 police members who are currently being accommodated for medical reasons, including pregnancy and 25 who are on leave. Also, 10 civilian employees are currently on medical leave.

Supplemental Staffing to Support our Downtown Community – Police have been hearing about the need for more help downtown in terms of visibility. Presently, there is one Downtown Community Resource Officer, but with the investment by the board proposed here, Police could add two additional officers in the day from 10 am to 6 pm to increase police presence, visibility, and provide proactive engagement with the residents, businesses, and visitors downtown.

The board will be asked to approve $260,000 from the Police Operating Contingency Reserve to fund these extra officers, and then forward this information to city council to get their approval to use this reserve funding too.

Chief’s Monthly Report – As usual, Guelph Police Services Chief Gord Cobey will deliver a verbal report about the latest goings on at 15 Wyndham Street South.


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