Police board pushes crisis training for officers 0
COLLINGWOOD — The town’s police services board wants to see local cops get crisis training.
At its last meeting two weeks ago, the board passed a resolution that all officers at the Collingwood OPP detachment receive Crisis Intervention Training.
The resolution comes after more than a year of lobbying by Marcus Firman — the father of Aron, who was killed in July, 2010, in a confrontation with police — as well as a presentation by former Toronto mayor and community activist John Sewell.
Sewell appeared before the board in May, urging them to create a team to deal with individuals in crisis.
Deputy-mayor Rick Lloyd — one of two council reps on the board — put forward the motion.
“It’s important as a taxpayer and a resident,” Lloyd told the Enterprise-Bulletin. “We have to remember that every call is a crisis call, in some respect, and the additional training will assist the officers.”
Collingwood OPP’s detachment commander John Trude says he’ll be exploring how to introduce the training to his officers.
“I am in the process of researching training courses that meet the criteria established for the Ontario Provincial Police training requirements, and once that is determined will be able to advise over what period of time the implementation will take,” Trude told the Enterprise-Bulletin.
Trude said there should be no concern the additional training would cost the municipality more, Trude said the town’s contract with the OPP will not need to be changed to address the training. He was unsure how long it would take to train
“Obviously, it will require some time to train every member of the detachment, while ensuring continued delivery of day-to-day policing services,” he’s said. “Any educational assistance that would assist officers in dealing with persons in crisis would inevitably be of assistance.
“That is not to state that officers are already dealing effectively with most people in crisis, but good can always be made better.”
Lloyd said the board’s motion should not be construed as an admission of either omission or culpability in Aron Firman’s death.
Firman was killed after an officer hit the 27-year-old man, who suffered from schizophrenia, with a conductive energy weapon, commonly referred to as a Taser. In a report by Special Investigations Unit Ian Scott, Firman’s death came as a result of the shock administered by the Taser, which aggravated an underlying health condition.
Officers were responded to a domestic incident at the group home where Firman lived. While police were questioning Firman, he attempted to get away, striking one of the officers; that caused the other officer to hit him with the Taser.
Firman was taken to the G&M Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Scott absolved the officer involved of any wrongdoing.
“We’re being proactive, not reactive,” said Lloyd. “We want to be leaders in the province, to make sure our officers are trained.”
The Firman family, and Sewell, had urged the police services board to adopt a similar model to police services in Hamilton and Toronto, in which a plainclothes officer — often unarmed — is teamed with a mental health nurse to deal with individuals in crisis who may come into contact with police.