On Monday, March 10, 2014, Police Chief Devon Clunis released an open letter to the public putting the issue of “gating” to bed.
The letter reads as follows;
“The Justice System is made up of many parts including; The Judiciary, Prosecutions, Corrections, Police, and the most important in my view, The Public. It is critical that we work cooperatively in fostering and maintaining confidence in our justice system.
It is not my intent to malign any member of the system by responding to recent allegations leveled at the police service. My preferred practice is to address issues with respective leaders in a constructive manner and I’ve taken those steps in response to the recent articles regarding “gating”. However, as this issue was brought to the public’s attention casting a negative light on the Service and its members, I must respond in order to accurately inform the public.
It is important that the public understand the reality of warrants within the justice system.
- At any given time there are over 20,000 warrants in the system.
- In 2013, the WPS added 7,668 new warrants to the system (average of 639 per month).
- The WPS executed 7,412 warrants in 2013.
- Our officers have an immense workload. Persons who are in custody do not take priority over subjects who may pose an immediate threat to the public.
- In the instances recently reported, police were notified of the location of the subjects and the warrants by a third-party. We responded to deal with those warrants.
- To dedicate our time to processing sentenced prisoners holding warrants is challenging. The process for arresting an in-custody prisoner is time-consuming and in some instances, requires obtaining a warrant as well as a removal order to release the prisoner from the institution for processing. Current calls for service wait while we process the prisoner.
This is simply a matter of priority in making the best use of limited resources. We won’t apologize for placing priority on citizen’s calls for service and dealing with more pressing public concerns. The resources within our system are inadequate to meet the demand. Many processes within the justice system are arguably antiquated, inefficient, and challenging. Reform is needed. I’m hopeful that we can work cooperatively with our partners in finding mutually supportive solutions to these system challenges.
Until that time, we will continue to utilize our resources to effectively meet the needs of all citizens. ”