Winnipeg Police Association President Maurice Sabourin believes more officers are needed on the street, and he has an idea of where to pull them from.
“There’s a lot of areas in the service that I would call a luxury,” Sabourin told 680 CJOB Wednesday. “Right now school resources, community support, those types of units. If general support is drowning, and we do know they’re drowning, you should be taking those resources and putting them into general patrol.”
However, pulling officers off of those duties may be difficult.
“The resourcing of public safety contains a number of pillars – including enforcement, prevention, education, victim services and others,” Winnipeg Police Deputy Chief Gord Perrier said in a statement to Global News.
“Having a comprehensive response across those sectors is important.”
Premier Brian Pallister agrees that something has to be done to help the struggling officers, but he won’t be the one making those calls.
“I’m not going to get into micromanaging the city police,” Pallister told reporters Thursday. “but when the chief expresses concerns about working too hard and about burnout, that should be a concern for all of us.”
The premier said he shares Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth’s concerns about public safety, but would not commit to funding for more police officers.
Bear Clan organizer James Favel, however, said he isn’t sure pulling resource officers is the answer.
“Having the Winnipeg police in our schools to be there and mix and mingle with the children, instead of being there to intervene so much, it helps to build a more cohesive relationship,” he said.
“That kind of healing is essential to further growth in our communities.”
Smyth said he will comment further on Monday when the WPS releases their 2018 annual statistical report.