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Police union president retires after eight years at helm – Winnipeg Free Press

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The longtime city police union chief is stepping down.

After eight years as president of the Winnipeg Police Association and 33 years with the Winnipeg Police Service, Maurice “Moe” Saborin will retire from the department on Saturday.

The outspoken union leader has been involved in recent public clashes with leader Danny Smith over issues including employment, morale and violent crime.

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Maurice ‘Moe’ Sabourin is retiring after 33 years with the Winnipeg Police Service and eight years as President of the Winnipeg Police Association.

In March 2021, Saburin wrote to the commander about the morale among the police, which he described as a growing crisis, particularly after the deaths of two veteran officers at the time.

At that time, he said that the morale among the officers of the ranks was so low that a leader could never fix it. A survey of WPS officers last year revealed high levels of burnout, anxiety and fatigue.

In July, after a series of horrific incidents at The Forks, Saborin gave the president a “fail” after Smith insisted that although there was a slight increase in violent crime, Winnipeg was still a relatively safe city.

In his criticism he stopped short of saying he wanted the commander out, but said that union members had lost faith in the city’s police chief.

Under Saborin’s leadership in 2020, the union won an arbitration decision on police pensions.

In 2019, the city council moved unilaterally to make changes to the pension plan, including removing overtime as a pensionable benefit, changing early retirement provisions and increasing contributions to the plan from union members.

The city said at the time that the move, intended to bring it in line with other Civic Union plans, would have saved Winnipeg $12 million annually.

This week, Saborin ended his tenure as chief by securing a standby deal for officers and support staff who work at the force’s downtown headquarters.

The city council voted 13 to 3 in favor of allocating the Millennium Library Park floor to WPS members. Council approval of the plan paves the way for the provision of 264 parking spaces at a monthly rent of $275 each. If the stalls are not filled, the park will remain the same.

The idea was to settle a longstanding complaint filed by the union.

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The city expects to lose about $95,600 in revenue each year due to the change, while another $200,000 will be spent to retrofit the parkade.

In a statement announcing his retirement, Sabbourin highlighted the cooperation with the Police Department and City Council.

“It has been one of the greatest honors of my life,” he said in the statement.

“WPA has always sought to engage constructively with the WPS Department and the City of Winnipeg; the COVID-19 pandemic has been a particular example where the WPA has worked closely with the WPS Department to navigate a wide range of issues. This collaborative spirit has also extended to City Council, where possible.”

Saborin could not be reached for comment on Friday.

Corey Wells will replace Saborin in the union that represents more than 1,400 police officers and 450 support staff.

[email protected]

Twitter: erik_pindra

Eric Bendera

Eric Bendera
Reporter

Eric Bendera reports for the city office, with a particular focus on crime and justice.

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