Cal­gary po­lice re­view­ing use of force

Lethbridge Herald - - ODDS & ENDS - Lau­ren Krugel THE CANA­DIAN PRESS — CAL­GARY

The fa­ther of a man of­fi­cers shot dead in a ho­tel room says his fam­ily would be keen to par­tic­i­pate in an in­de­pen­dent re­view into the use of lethal force by the Cal­gary Po­lice Ser­vice.

The po­lice ser­vice, prompted by an in­crease in shoot­ings by of­fi­cers, launched the re­view Wed­nes­day. There were 14 such in­ci­dents over the past two years, six which were fatal.

“I am com­pelled to en­sure our mem­bers have the cor­rect lead­er­ship, pol­icy, pro­ce­dures, and equip­ment — as well as train­ing — to en­sure that we are polic­ing the com­mu­nity in the safest, most con­tem­po­rary way pos­si­ble,” Chief Roger Chaf­fin said in the re­view’s terms of ref­er­ence.

Neil Wittmann, who re­tired as chief jus­tice of Al­berta’s Court of Queen’s Bench ear­lier this month, has been tasked with look­ing at any sys­temic fac­tors that may be at play. The aim is not to as­sign blame or con­cen­trate on any par­tic­u­lar shoot­ing.

Pat Hef­fer­nan, whose 27year-old son An­thony was shot four times — twice in the head — two years ago, wel­comed the re­view.

“I think it’s an ex­cel­lent idea. I think it’s long over­due that this should be hap­pen­ing. There’s been way too many killings at the hands of the po­lice,” he said.

His son was shot while of­fi­cers were re­spond­ing to re­ports of a man be­hav­ing strangely in a ho­tel room. An­thony Hef­fer­nan, who had a his­tory of drug ad­dic­tion, was stand­ing near the beds with a lighter and a sy­ringe and did not obey com­mands to drop them.

The Al­berta Se­ri­ous In­ci­dent Re­sponse Team, the prov­ince’s po­lice watch­dog, ini­tially rec­om­mended charges, but none was laid as the Crown de­ter­mined there was no rea­son­able like­li­hood of con­vic­tion.

Hef­fer­nan said of­fi­cers should be held ac­count­able for their ac­tions, but broader is­sues must be dealt with too.

“There has to be a change in the cul­ture of the po­lice force so they’re not in this con­fronta­tional mode all the time,” he said.

“The main thing we want to see is that there are changes made so that this does not con­tin­u­ally hap­pen, be­cause in Cal­gary it’s con­tin­u­ally hap­pen­ing.”

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