March 05, 2020: Charlene and Brent, “Club Ownership”.
Head Table:  Our President Brent Shackleton, invites all major chairpersons, to join him at the head table.
Today at Rotary:   Stratford Police Chief Greg Skinner was this afternoon’s guest speaker.  Without a doubt the Chief clearly loves his job, cares about the community, and has concerns about the future of policing in today’s technologically driven world.
Program Speaker Police Chief of Stratford and St Mary’s Greg Skinner talking about the role of policing in our community.
This became particularly clear as he discussed the “Changing Landscape of Policing.”
Also attending Greg Skinner’s parents Jack and Gladys.
At one-time law enforcement spent a great deal of effort on B&E’s and similar crimes.  Nowadays, mental health, addiction and homelessness – social issues – consume an enormous amount of police time; so a police officer’s work-load and the type of calls they must handle are definitely changing.
The police budget for any jurisdiction is large; in fact, it is often the largest line item in the budget. Costs versus public expectations in conjunction with serious government cutbacks make it a challenge to allocate resources.  One of Greg’s guiding principles is to balance priorities with finite resources. He is also committed to a shared vision of public safety that builds partnerships, coordinates resources and requires everyone to be responsible for their actions.
Technology is certainly adding to the number and complexity of investigations. Ransomware, on-line bullying and sexting are new additions to our world and the world of policing. However, new technology is not always a bad thing.  The Chief recounted a story of how a murder victim’s `Fitbit` told police not only when the victim’s heart stopped but the GPS in the watch also indicated that the body had been moved.
Legislative changes such as the legalization of cannabis present police with concerns; to say nothing of the increased internal and external oversight on police. Finally, there is a growing concern about the erosion of public trust in the police force.  As the Chief said, we do not hire liars and cheats to join the force; if elected officials continue to publically question or second-guess the police that certainly leads to an erosion of trust.
Finally, a major concern for policing today is to attract and retain a qualified, skilled workforce. Recruitment is difficult as young people do not seem as interested in joining the force, and staffing shortages resulting from occupational stress, injuries and PTSD put a strain on resources.
Certainly policing is a challenging job but there are huge, personal rewards and it can be a very fulfilling career. Every day the police have a positive impact on our society; they most definitely make a difference.
Scribe: John D. Wright
Rotarian Colleen Devine relating a story during Black Heritage month about a tombstone in the Avondale Cemetery listing Joseph Harrison and Emma Hemingway and proud descendants as “Escaped Slaves “who probably came to Stratford in the 1800s via the Underground Railway
Guests: Jack and Gladys Skinner - Stratford
Foundation Draw: Donated by Amy Mullock and won by Linda Bathe.
Make-ups: R.L. Stephenson-Read and Katherine Hahn two meetings at the Mitchell R.C., (regular meeting and Friendship Exchange meeting).
Please, if you do a make-up, please send me an email at
March’s Attendance Committee: John Wright (I/C), Jim Scott, Andrea Page, Chris Thomson, Al Wakelin, Jo-Anne Hood Tidman, Doug Brown, Kel Pero, Sarah Hamza