We hope you will find the content both relevant and informative. Check the website often to see what our views and opinions are on the major policing issues affecting the Province of British Columbia and our citizens. Through our affiliations all municipal police forces in BC and with the Canadian Police Association (CPA) we also keep up with policing issues that affect our members and the public provincially and nationally.
The BCPA, representing the over 2,500 frontline police officers in BC, is committed to protecting and promoting the interests of our members as they serve citizens in our communities 24/7. By doing so, we will create a safer community and improve the quality of life for all citizens.
There is no question that police services across Canada are constantly re-evaluating the roles of specially trained civilian personnel and special constables, and the duties that those (very important) members can take on, particularly with an eye towards ensuring that taxpayers receive the most benefit for their investment in public safety. That being said, your recent editorial calling for fewer uniformed police officers to be directing traffic misses the mark on a number of fronts.
You cite the experience of Vancouver (where I serve as the President of the Vancouver Police Union), and while it is true that in some, limited, circumstances Traffic Authority personnel are used to direct traffic, this is far from the norm, and only occurs in clearly defined situations where there is little, or no risk and there is a need for outer event perimeter control. The majority of traffic control is still done by uniformed police personnel.
Further, by definition, a lesser-trained special constable will lack the ability to respond to the full scope of situations that often arise when traffic is significantly disrupted in a major metropolitan core, such as Toronto. They also won’t have the necessary training to respond to circumstances such as walk-up reports of crime occurring, or, more seriously, instances of impaired/dangerous driving. Several independent evaluations of a ”tiered” response have found that this can lead to increased cost and arguably less effiency if after replacing the fully trained police officer with a lesser trained person, you ultimately have to call on a police officer.
There is a place for citizen volunteers and other specially trained civilian personnel in any successful and modern police service. How decisions on how to most effectively integrate these personnel and volunteers into an effective public safety model should be informed by objective research and data not political rhetoric and other agendas. While it’s easy to paint Police Association representatives as obstructionist, the fact is that our members have been at the forefront of the ongoing discussion of how to build modern, efficient and cost-effective police services. Citizens deserve nothing less.
Someone forwarded this story and after having a read, I couldn’t help but send a short note.
First, this was definitely a tragedy and in the circumstances, I completely understand that the family have a lot of questions about what happened. Especially in the context of how they describe their relationship with their son and what kind of person he was.
Unfortunately this was not the person my members came across that day. However I was not writing to discuss the actual incident. The point I wanted to make is that it would be nice, if you are going to write about an incident like this, that you do so objectively and in a balanced way.
For example, at the start of your story you write "Myles died of injuries inflicted during the altercation..." In fact we still do not know what the cause of death was because neither the Coroner nor the IIO have released that information.
This was a tragic incident that has had a profound impact on everyone that was involved. I still have one member who is unable to return to active duty because of serious injuries he sustained during the incident that were inflicted by Myles Gray. My member also has a family who have been impacted by the effect those injuries had. We still don’t know if he will fully recover.
It would seem to me that you have at least some obligation to ensure the information you include in your story is accurate and balanced.
In time, a response to the civil claim will be filed and factual information regarding what happened that day will become known. In the meantime though stories like this skew the narrative and really aren’t fair to the officers who were responding to Mr Gray’s actions that day or to the general public who are quite frankly being misled.
Lori Culbert: "Seven killed in B.C.this year in police shootings"
It's always tragic whenever any person suffering from a mental health issue and in crisis cannot get appropriate assistance and support. Even more so when this leads to serious injury or death.
It is just as unfortunate any examination of such incidents seem to focus exclusively on the police. Yet, when law enforcement ask for more access to information about people suffering from mental illness, privacy activists and others scream loudly, saying police will profile these people.
It seems police are expected to conduct a complete diagnosis in a split second during a crisis situation, something that can take a medical professional hours, days, or even weeks to do in a clinical setting.
If as a society we are serious about reducing how often these tragedies occur, we need to move beyond simply seeking to blame the police, and instead, find a collaborative way to collectively intervene so we can avoid the crisis in the first place.