Ontario police chiefs meet in Chatham-Kent
Police leaders from around the province are gathering in Chatham-Kent over the next couple days, reviewing provincial safety issues.
At the top of the list is maintaining a high level of police service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have to ensure we provide adequate and effective policing, that’s number one,” says Gary Conn, CKPS police chief and president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.
“So we want to keep our services at least at that minimum but we’re always wanting to enhance and increase the level of the services.”
Conn says mental health for officers and the public is also a top priority.
“I know locally here that we have seen our numbers increase and I think that is the trend right across the province, that more people are suffering from mental health,” he says.
Chatham-Kent Police Service will be expanding its mobile crisis team as a result.
OACP board members will also take the next couple days to review provincial public safety matters, such as guns and gangs.
“Not just the parties involved but other pressing issues such as exportation, importation, get to the root cause of these offences,” says Conn.
The implementation of body worn cameras to mid-size police forces like Chatham-Kent will be up for discussion as well.
“We will run a three to six-month pilot project in regards to body warn cameras with eventual rollout to all of our frontline workers by hopefully the 1st or 2nd quarter of 2023,” he says.
Lawyer and former police officer Dan Scott believes the added piece of technology will protect both officers and the public.
“It’s a sign of the times and it’s just another necessary tool on their belt,” Scott says.
Other items on the two-day agenda include overcoming systemic racism in law enforcement.
“In 2022, we have a pretty fulsome work plan right across the province to make some systemic changes,” says Nishan Duraiappah, first Vice President of OACP.
A step in the right direction, according to University of Windsor professor, Natalie Delia Deckard.
“This is really important work that they’re doing and it’s something we can collectively take pride in,” Decakrd tells CTV News.