As the newly appointed interim Independent Police Review Director, I am honoured to have been entrusted to serve Ontarians and to help lead a significant transformation in the policing complaints system in Ontario.
Having extensive experience working within the criminal justice system, I strongly believe that police oversight agencies play a vital role in the administration of justice. A transparent and independent oversight system enhances public confidence in policing and strengthens the relationship between the police and the public.
The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) plays a critical role in fostering public trust in the public complaint system.
From conducting independent investigations of complex cases to reviewing investigations conducted by police services, the OIPRD works to transparently, fairly and reasonably manage all public complaints.
The OIPRD also helps facilitate more direct and improved communication between the police and members of the public through various mediation and resolution programs. These programs allow police officers to better understand the impact of their actions and decisions on the community and help complainants better appreciate the unique nature of policing and the challenges that officers face on a daily basis.
Complainants and officers consistently tell us they walked out of our mediation sessions feeling heard and understood.
I am proud to say that the OIPRD has been successful in paving the way for important systemic changes in policing in Ontario. Our systemic reviews also generated important discussions across the province and the country regarding critical policing issues. Through our in-depth reviews, we identified challenges and shortcomings in policing and provided meaningful recommendations to effect positive change.
We have come a long way, but there is still a long journey ahead of us. As we transition to a new chapter, we are committed to strengthening the policing complaints system.
Under the recently passed Community Safety and Policing Act, the OIPRD will continue its mandate as the Law Enforcement Complaints Agency. While the new legislation has stipulated a number of important changes, our core mandate will remain the same.
Ontarians will still have access to an independent civilian oversight agency, and have confidence that all complaints will be dealt with in a fair and transparent manner.
Once the new legislation comes into force, all complaints regarding police policy and service will be dealt with by the newly established Inspector General of Policing.
As the Complaints Director, I will continue to manage and oversee public complaints against the conduct of all provincial and municipal police officers. I will also have the authority to deal with complaints against special constables of Niagara Parks Commission and the Peace Officers of the Legislative Protective Service. Under the new legislation, our office will work collaboratively with the Inspector General and other oversight agencies such as the Special Investigations Unit to deliver a stronger oversight system.
The transition from the OIPRD to the Law Enforcement Complaints Agency will require extensive efforts, advance planning, and collaboration between various entities.
My office is taking the necessary steps to ensure a smooth and seamless transition to the next phase.
As always, we welcome your thoughts. My team has improved our website to make it mobile-friendly, more accessible and easier to read and navigate. Please provide your comments, feedback or questions to us through our Contact page on the website.
Sylvana Capogreco was appointed as the Independent Police Review Director on April 1, 2019.
Born and raised in Ontario, Sylvana spent most of her career serving Ontarians. Sylvana’s passion for public service is reflected in the types of work she has done over the years. From working as an Assistant Crown Attorney at the Ministry of the Attorney General leading high profile murder and gang prosecutions to Deputy Director of the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, Sylvana dedicated her time and expertise to public service.
Sylvana studied political science at the University of Toronto and obtained her law degree from the University of Victoria. She was called to the bar of Ontario in 1992.
Before joining the OIPRD in 2008, Sylvana established herself as a distinguished prosecutor and leader in Ontario. For 25 years, she worked within the criminal justice system in various capacities. In addition to her long career as an Assistant Crown Attorney, Sylvana served as the Deputy Crown Attorney in the Scarborough Crown’s Office, where she led several important initiatives to improve practices and bring efficiencies in the criminal justice system.
In 2008, Sylvana joined the former Director, Gerry McNeilly, in establishing the Office of the Independent Police Review Director. Sylvana was an integral part of the leadership of the OIPRD. As Senior Counsel and then Deputy Director, she managed the legal unit and participated in all aspects of the creation and operation of the agency. Together with the OIPRD executive she was instrumental in shaping the agency and bringing it to the forefront of police oversight in Canada.
As the next Independent Police Review Director, Sylvana will be leading a significant transformation in police oversight under the newly passed Community Safety and Policing Act.