September 13, 2017 10:03 pm
Updated: September 13, 2017 10:04 pm

Calgary police officers expressing concern for safety over one-person patrols

WATCH: Calgary police officers who work in the downtown are expressing concern over a pilot project that changes the way they’re being deployed. As of this week, officers on day shift in District 1 are alone in their patrol cars. Nancy Hixt reports.

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Police officers who work in downtown Calgary are expressing concern over a pilot project that changes the way they’re being deployed.

Global News has confirmed that as of this week, officers on day shift patrolling downtown and the surrounding areas (District 1) are alone in their cars.

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It’s not a new practice for the police service, but it is a new mandate for this particular district.

“We wanted to see if we took a coordinated approach for one day shift per set, if it would would positively impact how many calls were waiting,” Insp. Ryan Ayliffe said.

“Concerns were raised by officers about the number of calls that they felt were continually waiting in District 1.”

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He said this idea came about as a way to provide a better service to the public. The pilot project will run for ten weeks.

But just days in, the police union has already received complaints from officers worried about their safety.

“The Calgary Police Association vehemently opposes any practice which puts the public and our officers into more danger than is absolutely necessary,” union president Les Kaminski said in a written statement to Global News.

“One-person cars is a dangerous practice with no benefit to the officers or the public.”

Kaminski went on to say this could mean an increase in use-of-force situations.

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But the Calgary Police Service (CPS) disagrees.

“If I thought this put officers at risk we wouldn’t be doing it,” Ayliffe said, adding that extra officers can be sent to a call if needed.

“The sergeants have discretion to deploy two-man cars if they feel it’s necessary,” he said.

At the end of the ten weeks, CPS said it will evaluate the project and look at whether this approach has helped reduce response times.

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