Wednesday, June 29, 2016

No more studies: Ombudsman urges Ontario to improve ‘inadequate’ de-escalation training for cops

TORONTO — Families of people killed by police are “hopeful” the Ontario government will act on an ombudsman’s report calling for improved training in de-escalation techniques for officers who encounter people in crisis.

The report, issued Wednesday, calls on the government to mandate better police training in how to interact with people who are dealing with mental health or addiction issues, without drawing their guns as the first option.

“Ontario officers have plenty of training on how to use their guns, but not enough on how to use their mouths,” ombudsman Paul Dube said.

“The majority of their training focuses on exerting authority and establishing control over armed or hostile subjects, principally by drawing their weapons and yelling commands.”

Nineteen people have been killed in police shootings in Ontario since the ombudsman’s office opened a special investigation following the shooting death of Sammy Yatim, 18, on a Toronto streetcar in July 2013.

Various coroner’s inquests have shown police respond with their guns in such situations because they are following their training, said Dube.

“We don’t need another study or consultation to determine that police training on de-escalation is inadequate,” he said.  (more...)

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