Last night, I attended a community meeting at Sturgeon Heights Collegiate where Winnipeg Police Chief Devon Clunis was the guest speaker.
A decent-sized gathering was on hand as Councillor Scott Fielding mentioned the three appointed St. James-area MLAs in attendance, then introduced Clunis.
His agenda soon became clear within minutes of taking the microphone.
“Crime prevention through social development” was his motto.
The rest of the evening sounded like a paid political announcement from the New Democratic Party of Manitoba.
According to Clunis, Winnipeg isn’t crime-ridden, there are just “pockets” of problem areas. For someone who had just finished stressing the importance of hiring someone from the community, he sounded every bit like an outsider with that ridiculous comment.
We then heard an endless number of stories about impoverished youth and “underserviced families.”
After blowing off one gentleman who was asking about an increased police presence because of a child predator in the area, Clunis touched on the problems with Aboriginal youth. Intimating that their woes are our fault, he suggested engaging them in conversation as they pass by as if that will magically make crime disappear.
The hour-long session came to an end without the words “law enforcement” being used once.
There are those who chortle at my assertion that Winnipeg remains devoid of a law enforcement agency. Those are the people who have not yet heard from our new Chief of Police.
Though Clunis expressly distanced himself from the label when speaking, the “hug a thug” moniker fits him perfectly. It’s a philosophy that sounds great in a boardroom to social workers and bureaucrats, but it isn’t working in the real world.
Devon Clunis truly wants to turn the WPS into a social services agency.
Sadly, he’s well on his way.