Use of Force Review
The Honourable Chief Justice Wittmann, QC, has delivered his independent report on the review of use of force in the Calgary Police Service. At the onset of the review, a commitment was made to share the report in full with the public.
Mr. Wittmann undertook a review of CPS policies, procedures, practices, training, equipment, and culture with respect to the use of lethal force with the goal of providing recommendations that could someday help us have zero fatalities in future critical incidents.
Upon initial review of the report, the CPS accepts the recommendations and is committed to further exploring the eight key themes that were identified through Mr. Wittmann’s review:
- Provincial oversight
- Officer recruitment
- Officer education and training
- Use of force
- Responding to use of force incidents
- Mental health, substance abuse and police interactions
- Police culture
- Strategic management
Mr. Wittmann has ensured the report has been written in a manner that allows citizens with varying degrees of knowledge about CPS, to understand whether systemic drivers, gaps or opportunities can be identified that may increase public and officer safety, and enhance public confidence in the CPS.
The report reaffirms the professionalism and commitment that CPS members bring to their job daily, recognizing their duty to preserve and protect lives.
While full implementation of all recommendations requires a long-term strategy, immediate areas of focus will include:
Police Act reforms: CPS, through the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police, will continue advocating for police act reforms and refer to other provincial jurisdictions where needed, to identify best practices.
Mental health concerns: The number of calls for service that include persons in crisis continue to rise. CPS needs to ensure our training, policies and practices leave our members best equipped to manage these complexities.
Training and education: Ensuring that members receive the support to enhance their learnings is a service priority. Just as other professions, policing requires a commitment to lifelong learning and CPS must ensure that it has a curriculum that follows this principle of continually refreshing and enhancing knowledge and skills.
The Calgary Police Service is appreciative of the steps Mr. Wittmann has taken to carry out this independent review that is comprehensive and inclusive in nature, bringing forward his own observations, identifying best practices in North America, as well as the experiences of those that have personally been affected by the use of lethal force.