3 Calgary homeless shelter security staff fired after ‘excessive force’ incidents

File photo. Andrew Cromwell / File / Global News

Two security guards and the manager of protective services at the Salvation Army’s Centre of Hope in Calgary have been fired, following an internal investigation that found excessive force had been used to remove clients.

The dismissals stem from two incidents on April 6 and April 8 at the facility.

In the first incident, a suspended client of the shelter was pushed outside the building. This led to a physical altercation between the client and a security guard, said John McAlister, national director of marketing and communications for the Salvation Army in an email to Global News Friday.

During the second incident on April 8, McAlister said a person was “grabbed then restrained when he refused to leave the building.”

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McAlister added this person was not a client of the facility but had gained access to the building.

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“In this latter situation, restraints were used by security guards that they were legally licensed to use but which were not approved organizationally for use within our centre,” he said.

Calgary police said they attended the incidents, but no charges were laid.

McAlister said the internal investigation concluded that in both circumstances, the security staff “applied excessive force” while attempting to remove the clients from the building.

“As a result of these findings, The Salvation Army made the decision to terminate the employment of two protective services members who played a primary role in each of the altercations,” he said.

McAlister added that the manager of protective services had also been dismissed “… to ensure the entire protective services team at the Calgary Centre of Hope is operating in line with our organizational values.”

The organization has banned the use of restraints and the centre’s staff will be undergoing additional training in crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques, he said.

“I would like to emphasize that The Salvation Army Canada is committed to upholding care, protection and respect for every person, and as such, we do not tolerate abuse of any form within our operations,” he said. “These incidents contradict the values that we stand for, and we are committed to ensuring it does not happen again.”

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According to the Salvation Army website, The Centre of Hope facility operates an addictions recovery program, men’s parole program and residential accommodations for 329 men.


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