The Winnipeg Police Department is set to install high-tech hand scanners at its downtown headquarters to better track officers – in a move the police union is calling a slap in the face.
Over the next few months, 11 handheld biometric scanners will be installed at the entrances and exits of Winnipeg Police Headquarters as part of a $ 158,000 human resources upgrade approved by City Council in 2018.
The scanners will be connected to attendance management software and will allow senior managers to know at all times who is present in the building.
“There are times when supervisors need to know where employees are. This system will allow supervisors to understand whether employees are still at headquarters or are gone for the day,” according to the initial tender for supply and install the equipment.
The current police attendance management system uses punch cards and is too dated to meet the city’s needs, Chief Danny Smyth said.
There are situations where the police need to know when police officers with specialized training – for example, tactical officers or breathalyzer technicians – are in the building and may be deployed.
âRight now we’re using the lists and calling people home because our scheduling system is quite old,â Smyth said Monday in a telephone interview.
Com. Kevin Klein, who chairs the Winnipeg Police Commission and represents Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood, said the new system will also improve accountability.
In a note to police, Smyth suggested the need for greater accountability stems from issues within the city’s property inspections branch, which has been forced to discipline or fire employees caught conducting personal matters at work.
“Given the scrutiny to which the service is regularly subjected, and especially in light of the scandal involving planning, real estate and development, this system will enable management and frontline supervisors [to have] the ability to account for on-duty employees, âSmyth said in a November 21 memo.
“It also provides an additional layer of building security.”
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The new scanners are not suitable for the Winnipeg Police Association, whose members are already angered by the prospect of cuts to police resources and potential changes to their pension plans at a time of high demands on the police.
“It’s a matter of priorities,” Sabourin said of the $ 158,000 human resources upgrade at the police headquarters, which has been suffering from gaps since police moved into the old building. Canada Post in 2016.
“There are so many problems with this building. It is very disheartening for these members to come to work daily and deal with all the other difficulties.”
Sabourin said he was not aware of any officers being disciplined for the willful misuse of manual punch cards.
âWe already have systems in place that can track where members are quite accurately. We have card access, we have a supervisor, we have GPS, we have radios, so biometrics is a bit of a surprise. for us, “he said.
âOther than just another slap in the face of the member, that pretty much means we don’t trust you to be in the workplace at the right time. “
The police union is also seeking legal advice on the use of the data collected by the scanners, Sabourin said, adding that there are concerns over who will have access to the files.
The scanners are expected to go into service in early 2020. In November, some of the machines were mistakenly delivered to the North District Police Station on Hartford Avenue in West Kildonan.
This led to Smyth apologizing to the officers in his November 21 memo.
âThe timing to introduce such a system is never great, but in light of everything that’s going on, it’s just creating a little bit of angst internally,â the chief said.