The chief of the Estevan Police Service is optimistic about the direction the country and its provinces are going to protect Canadians and police officers, and address increases in guns, gangs, drugs, and violence.
Police chiefs wrote to premiers following this past spring's Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) meetings expressing the urgent need to address those matters.
EPS Chief Rich Lowen was sworn in as director for the Saskatchewan police chiefs at the latest CACP conference, held in Halifax on November 7. He said things are moving in the right direction.
"We've got recognition from the premiers and from the federal government and justice minister to have those conversations to see changes come and I'm confident that changes will be coming."
Lowen, who is also the president of the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police, said those are still pressing issues.
"It is always top of mind in terms of the number of assaults against police officers and and the number of the violent occurrences across Canada that occur in terms of firearms and that sort of thing. So it is still a very top of mind. And the CACP tries to come together as a collective voice in that regard."
The CACP has several position statements listed on its website, including their desire for the bail-reform Bill C-48 to become law. (It is in its third reading in the Senate.)
"We are pleased to see that Bill C-48 gives far greater weight to a suspect’s criminal history when bail and sentencing matters are considered," reads the CACP's statement on Bill C-48. "While we would have recommended that a suspect’s full criminal history be contemplated, rather than just going back five years, the government has built in a review process in the next five years that will allow for an evidence-based and legislative review to address any remaining issues related to public safety.
"We also applaud the initiative to not only implement reverse-onus bail conditions for serious violent offences involving a weapon, but for expanding these provisions to offences involving intimate partner violence."
A point of pride for police was the release of a survey conducted by Leger, which found police to be the most-trusted institution in Canada, just ahead of Elections Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada.
"It is reaffirming what we we really do know that a lot of the times the quiet majority doesn't always get heard, and sometimes the vocal minority gets heard," said Lowen. "In Estevan, the support from the community has always been great and we're always really appreciative of that. And just to see that across Canada lets us know that we're in a good place."
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