Sgt. Tony Landry stands for a portrait at the Saskatoon Police headquarters in Saskatoon, Sk on Thursday, January 10, 2019.
Kayle Neis / Saskatoon StarPhoenix
The Saskatoon Police Service’s restructuring of operations in recent years is allowing police to more effectively monitor high-risk offenders in the community, says a sergeant in charge of the unit.It’s a much different picture than a decade ago.Currently, there are two constables and two supervisors. In 2009, only one officer was assigned to monitor high-risk offenders subject to peace bonds, otherwise known as Section 810 orders, under which a court can place a person under conditions for up to one year if there is reason to believe they pose a significant risk of committing sexual assault or another violent crime.In January 2009, then-police Chief Clive Weighill expressed his frustration about a lack of police resources to monitor high-risk people living in the community, on the heels of the arrest of Warren David Rattray in Ontario for a murder after he had been at large in Saskatoon in violation of the conditions of a peace bond.Rattray, who had a history of convictions for violent sexual offences against women and children, was the subject of a public warning by police in late 2008. Months later, he was arrested and charged for the murder of 37-year-old Kerri-Anne Parks in Sudbury, Ont. Rattray pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, according to a story published in the North Bay Nugget in October 2010.When The StarPhoenix spoke to Weighill in January 2009, he expressed hope the provincial government would provide more funding for a second officer.“(The officer) is extremely busy. I’m optimistic our politicians will recognize that,” he saidNow, Sgt. Tony Landry can also more easily tap the service’s other resources to assist the two constables.Through restructuring, the high-risk supervision unit was rolled into the guns and gang unit. The officers responsible for monitoring high-risk offenders are part of the Guns and Gangs unit, which has 14 constables. Landry said the other officers can support the ones who enforce peace bonds.The two officers are on duty 80 to 90 per cent of the time, Landry said.“If our officer that’s responsible for that, for high risk offenders, has an individual that we’re looking for, he or she may not be working that particular day, but the rest of the team is aware of that. We all work together … That’s their portfolio, that’s their mandate under the guns and gangs unit, but we have a number of officers that are there to offer support,” Landry said.“And if they have an investigation under their mandate, well, we have officers that we can move around and add more resources and give them help in that area.”He said they can re-direct resources if needed and if there’s a monitoring issue, they can also have patrol officers conduct compliance or curfew checks.A former inmate released from custody can be flagged by the Correctional Service of Canada as a high risk to reoffend. The CSC then passes that information to police, who evaluate it and can then ask Crown prosecutors to apply for a peace bond.From there, a judge decides whether or not the ex-inmate’s circumstances are enough to warrant a peace bond, which would put conditions on the person, such as a curfew, an order to stay away from certain people or an order to abstain from drugs and submit to drug testing.Primary grounds for a peace bond include a belief the person is likely to commit a sexual offence, particularly against someone under 14, or inflict serious violence on another person. The latter would apply to someone who has a history of involvement in organized crime.In late February, Saskatoon police said they had “several” people under their watch.“The number changes and it is difficult to provide an exact number; as officers monitoring the individual(s) is ongoing,” Landry said in a prepared statement.In early January, no one subject to a peace bond was under police supervision in Saskatoon, according to police. At that time, Landry said having more than one person under its watch would not be unmanageable.Landry said officers are in contact with anyone under a peace bond on a regular basis about the conditions placed on them. He said through the officers’ interactions with the former offender, they can gauge whether the person is complying with the conditions of the order and generally how well the person is doing.Police spokeswoman Alyson Edwards said police door-knock and conduct compliance checks “all the time.” However, she said because peace bonds are much less common that other conditions placed on ex-offenders, officers monitoring the high-risk individuals can handle multiple cases.“And it’s not like they’re sitting on their house 24 hours a day. They’re making sure they’re adhering to the conditions of their release,” she said.Police can publicly announce the presence of an offender on a peace bond in the community, as was done in 2008 with Rattray, but it’s rarely done. Community centres or schools near the home of a person on a peace bond are not specifically warned.Police could also issue public alerts, but those usually are for violent sexual offenders, such as Rattray. Edwards said she hasn’t done it in email@example.comRelated