‘Guns over brains’ men­tal­ity wor­ries RCMP com­mis­sioner

Cape Breton Post - - CANADA/WORLD -

OT­TAWA — RCMP Com­mis­sioner Bob Paul­son says he is afraid of the in­creas­ing mil­i­ta­riza­tion of po­lice forces across the coun­try, which in­cludes a grow­ing em­pha­sis on guns over brains. Paul­son says he wants his of­fi­cers to have the best equip­ment pos­si­ble to up­hold the law as well as pro­tect the pub­lic and them­selves. But he says there needs to be an equal amount of at­ten­tion put on mak­ing sure po­lice of­fi­cers have prob­lem-solv­ing skills and the abil­ity to de-es­ca­late po­ten­tial con­flicts and pre­vent crime. Paul­son’s com­ments to the Se­nate na­tional se­cu­rity com­mit­tee come as the RCMP have been hand­ing out more ri­fles to front­line of­fi­cers fol­low­ing the shoot­ing of three Moun­ties in Monc­ton, N.B., in 2014. De­scrib­ing the rifle de­ci­sion as “very elec­tric,” Paul­son says po­lice forces need to spend more time think­ing about how they present them­selves to and en­gage with the pub­lic, right down to the choice of uni­form. The com­mis­sioner says the great­est risk is cre­at­ing an us-ver­sus-them men­tal­ity among po­lice of­fi­cers and forces, thereby dis­tanc­ing them from the com­mu­ni­ties they serve.

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