Justice minister on Calgary police shootings: Alberta watchdog could have ‘broader’ role
Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley is weighing in on whether the role of the province’s police watchdog should be expanded as the number of Calgary police officer-involved shootings in 2016 reached 10 on Tuesday.
Five of those shootings left civilians dead, two caused injuries and three didn’t hit anyone. In 2015, there were just three officer-involved shootings in the city.
“Nobody wants to see numbers like this,” Ganley told Global News. “It’s obviously tragic for the families of the victims, it’s very challenging for the officers involved, as well, so yes I would definitely say it’s a concern.”
Watch below: Chief Constable Roger Chaffin says they are seeing a real change in criminality in Calgary, mostly due to methamphetamine and opioids.
Ganley said her department is in “constant contact” with the Calgary Police Service, working to see if they need help in reviewing things on an “ongoing basis.”
She said the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) will continue to investigate each individual case to determine whether police took reasonable action in firing their weapons—but their role could change.
“They don’t generally do that sort of more broad overview work but I think certainly there will be discussions ongoing about whether maybe something like that might be necessary.”
Ganley declined to comment on the cause of the increase in police-involved shootings in Calgary, but acknowledged the impact.
“It’s been, I think, very, very hard on the service and on their reputation in Calgary and it’s obviously really a tragic situation for the families of those victims.”
In Edmonton, which has a similar population, there has been one police shooting so far this year. No one was hit.
In Metro Vancouver, which has almost twice the population of Calgary, there have been two police shootings — one fatal, one causing injury.
With files from Mia Sosiak
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