Police Associations join forces to confront violence

January 27, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

It has been a devastating few months for police in Ontario and across the country.

Last October, South Simcoe police constables Devon Northrup and Morgan Russell were gunned down in an ambush after responding to a call in Innisfil.

On Dec. 27, 2022, OPP officer, Grzegorz ‘Greg’ Pierzchala, a rookie who had just passed his ten-month probationary period, was ambushed when he responded to a call about a vehicle in a ditch.

Constable Andrew Hong of the Toronto Police Service was killed last September while at a local coffee shop.

In British Columbia, RCMP Constable, Shaelyn Yang, was stabbed to death by a man living in a local park in mid-October of last year.

They were senseless murders that took the lives of four people who were dedicated to protecting and serving the community.

Four of Canada’s largest police associations representing more than 60,000 sworn and civilian police personnel have announced they have joined forces to confront the growing wave of violence against police and the communities they serve.

“As four of Canada’s largest police associations representing more than 60,000 members, we are saying today what we are sure most Canadians are feeling: Enough is enough,” the Associations said in a joint statement. “We cannot allow the deaths of five [of] our members to go unchallenged. Instead, we can and must honour their sacrifice by identifying the issues that led to this unacceptable wave of violence. Together, over the next days, weeks, and months we will review the judicial and public safety frameworks, commit to further research to fully understand the best remedies, identify what isn’t working, and call for change to ensure that this does not continue. Everything will be on the table – from bail to sentencing, to enhancing Crime Stoppers, to a growing and chronic shortage of police officers. At the same time, we will be reaching out to our memberships, to our communities, and indeed to all Canadians to help us ensure our recommendations are followed by action at all levels of government and society.”

The associations hope to put pressure on not only the judicial system but the police chiefs in the province as well.

“Collectively, when you have 60,000 police officers nationally, it puts a little bit of pressure (on other agencies,)” said John Cerasuolo, president of the Ontario Provincial Police Association. “We’re bringing this forward because our membership is speaking out about it. It’s not just the police associations, we want to work collaboratively with the Chiefs of Police, both the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police as well as the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. They’re the employer – we are the Associations representing the members coming forward and saying there’s an issue.”

Cerasuolo added, “You’re hearing from various people that the system is broken and it’s not working. I think it needs to be enhanced so that people that are committing serious offences are being dealt with properly when it comes to being released on bail conditions and things like that. We’re talking about violent assaults or even violence with firearms. You have to put it in perspective – the seriousness of the crime, and when given the conditions, is he going to re-offend? We do have compliance checks now when people are out on bail conditions, but maybe we need to put more resources towards that to ensure we are checking on the people that are out on conditions and making sure they are abiding by those conditions. Even monitoring devices would be very helpful. You know if someone is on house arrest, and they aren’t at their house, the ankle bracelet would show that.”

The four police associations include the Canadian Police Association, the Police Association of Ontario, the Ontario Provincial Police Association, and the Toronto Police Association.

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