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National Police Federation calling for change to prevent violence against officers

The National Police Federation is calling for greater protections for police officers after a disturbing incident in North Cowichan on Friday morning.

A man drove into the RCMP parking lot, smashing into a police cruiser and injuring an officer.

Cell phone video captured by a witness then shows the suspect being shot by another officer.

“This is linked to something that is a trend that we believe is increasing and needs to be addressed,” said Chris Voller, a director with the National Police Federation.

Voller says officers across the country are being targeted by violence, and points to another disturbing incident last Thursday in Ontario.

“An OPP officer was ambushed and killed, which also left two other police officers in critical condition,” said Voller.

The officer’s name was Sgt. Eric Mueller.

Since September, Canada has lost ten officers in the line-of-duty, said Thomas Carrique, the commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police on Thursday.

“Nine of which were murdered,” said Carrique.

Now the National Police Federation is calling on all levels of government for change, beginning with bail and parole reform.

“More so than anything, we need to look at our judicial system through a lens that refocuses on our victim’s rights,” said Voller, “not just that of offenders.”

He added, “I think that has been lost.”

“The reality is, is there are a lot of people these days who are taking it upon themselves to injure police officers,” said Tom Stamatakis Jr., spokesperson with the Victoria City Police Union.

The union points to two separate violent acts against officers: the Bank of Montreal shoot-out in Saanich last June, where six ETR members were injured. And in September of 2021, an officer was struck by a stolen vehicle in the 900-block of Pandora Street in downtown Victoria.

“It impacts police officers’ mental health and morale negatively,” said Stamatakis.

The Victoria City Police Union says there have been more officers on leave for mental health reasons than ever before, and the recruitment of new officers has become challenging.

“In addition to police officers getting assaulted, there has been less interest in the job,” said the union spokesperson. “It has impacted us greatly.”

The union agrees with the National Police Federation, saying change needs to happen now.

The investigation into Friday’s incident in North Cowichan is still in the hands of the Independent Investigations Office. No update has been given on the injuries of the suspect or the RCMP officer.

“(Officers) don’t wear those ballistic resistant vests because they are comfortable, they do it because they know they may be shot,” said Voller. Top Stories

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