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Lethbridge police officers worried about drug crisis management: survey

WATCH: The Lethbridge Police Association is speaking out on what it calls a toxic work environment. Results from a recent survey of members show front-line officers don't believe the supervised consumption site or the police chief's strategy to deal with the drug crisis is working. Quinn Campbell reports.

A survey recently conducted by the Lethbridge Police Association has brought in some concerning results.

One pointed to the supervised consumption site that opened in February 2017. Officers expressed concerns that the facility may not be having the intended effect in what police and the city are calling a drug crisis.

That’s a sentiment Stacey Bourque disagrees with. She is the executive director of ARCHES Lethbridge, a non-profit organization working to reduce harms associated with HIV and hepatitis C.

“It wasn’t a survey about the merits of the supervised consumption site,” Bourque said Tuesday. “It was a survey about the internal operations of the police department.”

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The survey was conducted in December 2018, with 70 per cent of the local police force taking part.

Although full results haven’t been released to the public yet, when it comes to drug use and the consumption site, the results showed that less than three per cent of members believe the consumption site has made residents any safer.

Results also showed none of the respondents believe the consumption site has made policing easier. Twelve per cent believe the chief has responded appropriately to the city-wide drug crisis, leading officials to surmise that there could be a bigger problem at play.

“It’s also reflective of a bigger picture that maybe the drug crisis is not necessarily being addressed in the most appropriate or effective fashion,” association president Jay McMillan said Monday.

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Although officers may believe the consumption site isn’t making their jobs any easier, Bourque said that isn’t the intention of the centre. She said she feels as though the two have been able to work well together since the site opened last year.

“As far as we are concerned, we value the relationship we have with the Lethbridge police and we have an excellent relationship with them and we try to work collaboratively with them,” she said.

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Chief of police Rob Davis has yet to comment on the survey results that became public on Thursday. The mayor also declined to comment.

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