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'We share their concerns': Canada's police chiefs asking for help to keep the public and officers safe

Keeping dangerous offenders from being released as well as mental health and addictions were on the agenda for the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police as the organization requested a meeting with premiers to discuss safety concerns.

The chiefs called for the meeting following the deaths of nine police officers on the job in the last six months. In one of those instances, an Ontario officer was killed in an ambush. The suspect in that case was out on bail.

"They have concerns about their officer safety as well and we share their concerns," said Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson.

In a joint move, the premiers and the chiefs reiterated calls for Ottawa to reform bail laws. Both groups say too many dangerous offenders who should be in custody are out on the streets. The federal government has said it is considering changes.

"They go out everyday and put their lives on the line. We want to be there to make sure they've got the tools that they need to do their jobs," said Stefanson.

In a statement on its website, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is also recommending a review of the criteria which determines the mental competency of someone to stand trial, as it says too many individuals with mental health disorders, who pose significant threats, are released with no care or restrictions.

"We believe these collective efforts will contribute to improved public and officer safety as well as support the recruitment and retention of officers and other public service agency professionals in an already challenging environment," the statement reads.

Winnipeg Police Board Chair Marcus Chambers says all levels of government need to find solutions together to tackle problems like repeat offenders and youth crime.

"These are some of the issues we hear on a daily basis that are impacting the safety and well being of our community members," said Chambers.

Stefanson also said the Chiefs Association plans to prepare a report on addictions from a policing perspective to see what can be learned.

The association said Friday's meeting was a first step to working together and finding solutions to public safety. Top Stories


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