Canadian police ‘end up wearing’ U.S. law enforcement issues: Halifax police chief

Click to play video 'Halifax police chief explains ‘Ferguson effect’' Halifax police chief explains ‘Ferguson effect’
WATCH ABOVE: Halifax Regional Police Chief Jean Michael-Blais connects the dots between violence in the States and how it effects people's perceptions of policing worldwide – Sep 23, 2016

Halifax’s police chief says law enforcement in this country is inevitably challenged by police-civilian conflicts in the United States, although Canadians need to know things aren’t comparable on this side of the border.

READ MORE: U.S. police shootings: When are police obligated to release videos and how soon?

Jean-Michel Blais says Canadian police often “end up wearing” U.S. law enforcement issues, particularly as a result of highly charged incidents in places such as Orlando, Dallas, Baton Rouge, and North Carolina.

READ MORE: ‘We cannot arrest our way out of this problem’: Halifax police chief on gun violence

He told a business audience Friday that one of the biggest challenges for police is dealing with perceptions that often have “no basis in fact.”

But Blais says for him, the so-called Ferguson effect in the U.S. means “what happens there, matters here.”

Story continues below advertisement

Blais says to combat perceptions and to deal with real problems police have to involve themselves in more community engagement in order to keep a level of trust.

READ MORE: ‘Eye-opening year for law enforcement’: Halifax police chief reflects on Moncton shooting anniversary

He says while the problems in the U.S. aren’t directly applicable to the Canadian context, there is still plenty of work to do here when it comes to race relations.