Chief Wayne Kalinski: It’s all about relationships

June 29, 2017   ·   0 Comments

Orangeville Police Chief Wayne Kalinski has done a fantastic job of rebuilding the local authority’s reputation in recent years.

By Constance Scrafield

After 32 years with the York Regional Police, serving about one million people, Chief Wayne Kalinski said of his application to the posting of Deputy Chief of Police in Orangeville, “I thought it was intriguing – so, I applied.”

In the course of his few years as Deputy here, he was approached by the Police Services Board in 2014 to take on the job of Chief of Police, which he accepted.

Not surprisingly, he had found his move to Orangeville, “significantly different, moving from a large organization to a smaller town of 30,000 people.”

And – he likes it. For Chief Kalinski, the biggest difference in Orangeville, possibly its greatest virtue for a police chief: “I’m able to make meaningful relationships and continue them for long term, connecting with the community members, local service groups, members of churches, schools, senior centres.”

Asked about his interaction with policymakers, he said simply, “You run into these people on a regular basis – that’s not as frequent in York.”

Policing can be a difficult business and there are difficult questions. So, we talked a bit about the death of Adam Sprague while in custody in the Orangeville police station in 2010, a year before Chief Kalinski joined the force. He has seen to it that policies in this police force have changed.

“When anyone is held in police custody, we have to ensure that doesn’t happen again. We changed our policies to provide training for all applications. A person [a constable or other official] is brought in strictly to watch over the safety of the prisoners with no other duties, to insure that everyone is safe whether a prisoner or someone coming in.”

He went on to also explain about an extended safety arrangement: “A person [citizen] can come in to a specific parking lot 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which is a safe zone to – say – exchange a child in a case of potential problems – or anything the public feels they need a place of safety for everybody. This doesn’t exclude anyone.

“We determined that this was needed in Orangeville – we established it here.”

This idea of a safe zone has been created under Chief Kalinski. He told us its success has meant police departments all over Ontario have followed this example.

“So, Orangeville is leading, not following, in these matters,” he was pleased to say.

The subject of crime, of the drug problem even here in Orangeville, inevitably came into our conversation:

“Unfortunately, Orangeville is no different than anywhere else,” he admitted. “There are drugs in the community. Now there are plainclothes policemen that deal with drugs – we look for drugs and we arrest for drugs.”

As to the matter of opioids, they “are in Ontario. We’re not sure if they’re in use in Orangeville but we are waiting for some toxins test results. It is in my time that we have brought in officers to work full-time to deal with drugs.”

Solemnly, he continued, “This is why I’m not in favour of legalizing marijuana. I am the vice-chair of the Ontario Association of Chief of Police Substance Abuse Committee. Legalization of marijuana will not stop or slow down the use of it – it will just increase. It is an increased danger for children. It is almost impossible to keep it out of the hands of our children unless the parents are very careful.  Adults will need to be vigilant and responsible where they store their marijuana. Kids will experiment if they can.”

Commenting on the health aspect: “It’s not healthy to smoke. If smoking cigarettes is harmful, how could it be okay to smoke marijuana?”

He told us, “When I was on official business with substance abuse in Colorado, where they have legalized marijuana, there was a spike in over-use.

“The problem with legalization is also driving impaired – there’s no breathalyser for smoking drugs. At the end of the day, we’re at the information gathering stage. Impairment comes on quicker with marijuana. We will need police officers with specialized training in drug recognition. This is available in the States but not available in Canada.”

There is a canine unit in the OPS – a dog named Radar whose function is mainly to search – for property, a missing person or to track a suspect who has left the crime scene, ultimately, for making an apprehension and arrest.

The Orangeville Police station at 390 C Line is fully operational; it houses  officers, records, communication centre, administration office and lock-up; the last is for holding persons temporarily or until they have been granted bail.

As the Chief explained, “With a person intoxicated in a public place, my desire is that they be taken home or a place of safety. If not, we bring him to the station to be released after sobering up. We call in a special constable to watch over that prisoner. [If necessary,] we hold them to go to Brampton or to court in Orangeville, Monday to Friday.”

He spoke about his ambitions for the OPS: “We continue on a path of continuous improvement. By that, I mean we continue to build and strengthen relationships with the public; spend the taxpayers’ dollars responsibly and see that the residents and visitors have a safe environment. There are many nice sights – Island Lake and downtown Broadway – for people to enjoy.

“It’s all about relationship-building,” he averred. “I’ve been here since June, 2011 and I love the feel of a small-town atmosphere and to get out into the public with various events and meet the people in the community.”

Chief Kalinski attended the Sikh commemorative function at Island Lake two weeks ago, along with Mayor Jeremy Williams and MP David Tilson.He says it was important for him to go.

“The motivation for me coming … was to build our relationship with the Sikh community. The Sikh community is as important as any other. It is important for the community to know the Chief.”

He wanted to let it be known: “I am here for the long term. I made the commitment to move to Orangeville because it’s important that it makes it easier for me to know the community and attend events when I live so close.”

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