Now that the Matrix Consulting Review of WPS Operations has been published people are struggling to digest the 374 page monstrosity.
The big question is how much bang did the City of Winnipeg get for their 174,000 bucks.
I, for one, struggled with the idea that such an expenditure was needed, especially in light of the fact the City had just hired new Police Chief Devon Clunis. Would it not have been more prudent to give Clunis an opportunity to conduct his own operational review and implement the changes he deemed were appropriate to enhance the Service and streamline Police operations?
Today Chief Clunis appeared relieved when he addressed media and shared Matrix review findings that concluded, “The citizens of Winnipeg are indeed receiving a high level of Police service which is being provided in a fiscally responsible manner.”
After perusing the document I was surprised by some of the inaccuracies, spelling mistakes and misrepresentations contained in the report.
A glaring error in the report indicates Winnipeg recorded twenty-two (22) Homicides in 2011 when the true number was a record forty-one (41) killings. (In all likelihood the report intended to quote 2010 statistics.)
The report also quotes WPS Homicide clearance rates at 77% and compares this number to National averages. In reality, the WPS solvency rate averaged over a thirteen (13) year period is closer to 90%. It’s not clear why Matrix consultants selected data from 2010 and used it in their comparisons. In 2004, the WPS investigated thirty-four (34) murders and had a 100% solvency rate. What conclusions would Matrix draw from this data if they had selected 2004 statistics for comparison purposes?
Selecting Homicide data from a one (1) year snapshot certainly fails to capture the reality experienced by the WPS Homicide Unit and any conclusions drawn from such data should be considered highly suspect.
In 2010, Inspector Gord Perrier conducted one of the most intensive reviews of WPS Homicide Operations in the history of the organization. Among other findings, Perrier reported the WPS Homicide Unit solved murders at almost 50% of the cost of its Canadian comparators.
My point, the WPS has always been a fiscally responsible agency. From the first time I put on my Sergeant stripes I had the WPS “money, money, money” mantra drilled into my head. Cut overtime, cut corners, cut costs, cut, cut, cut. The Organization has become extremely money conscious thanks to the continuous pressure they experience from the irresponsible spend thrifts across the street at 510 Main Street.
That aside, I still struggle with the notion that the twenty-seven (27) or so members of the WPS Executive Management Team (EMT), who earn salaries totalling north of $3.3 million dollars per annum, can’t be counted on to run a cost efficient organization.
I’m confident many of the “reasonable” 175 Matrix recommendations have been considered or were already under consideration by the EMT. In fairness, while many of the recommendations are fluff, some of them may have merit and could be implemented by the WPS. I don’t intend to dissect the entire report.
I did find it humorous that Mayor Sam Katz vehemently opposed one of the few true cost cutting recommendations. The recommendation to cut the WPS Mounted Patrol Unit. Matrix cited savings potential of $20,000 in operating costs plus additional savings related to two (2) officer positions. Not going to happen according to Katz.
That brings me to my favourite Matrix recommendation;
“Take steps to control overtime in the Major Crimes Unit.”