Police deaths: Ontario ombudsman's 22 recommendations

If the drift of Canada towards a police state has not yet affected you directly, you would do well to recall the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller, writing in Germany before his arrest in the 1930s: "The Nazis came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I was a Protestant, so I didn't speak up....by that time there was nobody left to speak up for anyone."

Police deaths: Ontario ombudsman's 22 recommendations

Postby Thomas » Sat Jul 02, 2016 9:15 am

Police deaths: Ontario ombudsman's 22 recommendations on reducing fatal interactions

Paul Dube's report looks at various ways to improve police training in de-escalation techniques, particularly when dealing with people in a mental health crisis.

Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé released “A Matter Of Life and Death” at Queen’s Park Wednesday, the product of his investigation into how the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services trains and directs police on use of force. The report makes 22 recommendations:

Ministry leadership: The ministry should use its legal and moral authority to take the lead on the issue of de-escalation and police-involved shootings of persons in crisis.

De-escalation regulation: Within one year, develop and implement new rules about using de-escalation techniques, modelled on the Suspect Apprehension Pursuit Regulation, which requires police to use communications and de-escalation techniques in all conflict situations before considering force options, wherever tactical and safety considerations permit.

Use-of-force model: The new model should be easy to understand and clearly identify de-escalation options, not just use-of-force options. Models developed in British Columbia and Las Vegas have clarity and balance, but Ontario should lead by developing its own model that builds on the best of what others have done. It should be rolled out to all police services within one year.

Coroner’s jury recommendations: The ministry should formally and publicly respond to all coroner’s jury recommendations involving police use of force and de-escalation, on a priority basis. It should also keep complete and accurate records of actions taken to address those recommendations.

Improved training:

- Offer more guidance for recruits and officers on the use of the police challenge (such as “Police! Don’t move!”) to cover times when the challenge has not been successful in calming a situation and to explain when to use de-escalation techniques instead.

- Revise training to stress de-escalation techniques as the first option when facing a person with an edged weapon, provided that public and officer safety and tactical considerations permit.

Recruit training:

- Expand the training period for new recruits at the Ontario Police College and use the additional time for more explicit training on de-escalation techniques and for practising de-escalation scenarios.

- Use the expanded police college curriculum to offer more training on mental illness and strategies to de-escalate situations involving people in crisis.

- Expand mandatory annual use-of-force refresher training to two days, with one day dedicated to use-of-force techniques and one to de-escalation. Include clear guidelines to evaluate an officer’s use of de-escalation, and monitor police services’ implementation of this expanded course.

On-the-job training:

- Require scenario-based training.

- Develop a standard syllabus on de-escalation to ensure a consistent, high standard of in-service training of police province-wide.

- Revise the use-of-force curriculum so that, rather than repeating basic concepts from recruit training, the trainers’ course focuses on teaching de-escalation and strikes a better balance.

- When picking use-of-force trainers, ensure that de-escalation and communications expertise is given equal weight with weapons training experience.

- Require use-of-force trainers to re-certify every two years, as is required for those who teach officers to use Tasers.

Reporting, tracking and using de-escalation stories:

- Develop a standard reporting process that enables feedback and learning on de-escalation. This should be used after all interactions with people suffering from mental illness or in crisis, where force was an option but was not used, and where the situation was successfully de-escalated.

- Use information gleaned from monitoring de-escalation reports as a learning tool for recruits and in-service training. Successful de-escalations should be shared among police services as a model of expected behaviour.

- Work with the Attorney General and Special Investigations Unit to analyze and learn from investigations of incidents involving death or serious injury of people who are mentally ill or in crisis, and incorporate lessons learned into police training.

Body-worn video:

Monitor police pilot projects in the use of body-worn cameras to assess their value as an accountability and de-escalation tool. Consider directing police forces on their use by May 2017.

Changing police culture:

- Institute new mandatory training standards for coach officers, recognizing that these on-the-job mentors are a vital force in shaping new officers’ skills and perceptions. Training for coach officers should be in line with the revised approach to de-escalation.

- Review coach officer programs as part of regular ministry inspections of police services.

- Institute new training for supervising officers to help them develop skills in teaching de-escalation and in debriefing officers on how armed confrontations with persons experiencing a crisis were handled.

- Report back to the ombudsman’s office quarterly on implementation of the recommendations.

- Source: “A Matter Of Life and Death,” Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé

By WENDY GILLISNews reporter

https://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2016 ... tions.html
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Ontario's ombudsman wants police to have better training

Postby Thomas » Sat Jul 02, 2016 9:17 am

Ontario's ombudsman wants police to have better training in de-escalation

TORONTO -- Ontario's ombudsman wants police to get better training in de-escalation techniques, saying they get plenty of instruction on how to use their guns, but not enough on how to use their "mouths."

Paul Dube says 19 more people have been killed in police shootings in Ontario since he opened a special investigation following the shooting death of teenager Sammy Yatim on a Toronto streetcar in July 2013.

He says inquests have shown police respond with their guns when vulnerable people are in crisis because they are following their training, which focuses on "drawing their weapons and yelling commands."

Dube says there is "ample evidence" the government needs to make the issue a priority and mandate more instruction time in de-escalation techniques, including well over 100 coroner's jury recommendations calling for improved police training.

The government watchdog says Ontario's basic police training course is among the shortest in Canada, and is more focused on how to use weapons than on finding alternatives.

Dube stresses he's not being critical of police, but of their "inadequate training" for when they face difficult and potentially dangerous situations, and says the shootings are traumatic for everyone, including the officers.

"We don't need another study or consultation to determine that police training on de-escalation is inadequate," Dube said as he released his report.

"It is not just a mater of long-overdue leadership, but of saving lives."

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/ontario-s- ... -1.2966972
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Ontario's police kill the mentally ill because of poor train

Postby Thomas » Sat Jul 02, 2016 9:40 am

Reevely: Ontario's police kill the mentally ill because of poor training, ombudsman says

Ontario police kill mentally ill people because of how they’re trained, and it didn’t seem to bother Yasir Naqvi nearly as much as it should have, the province’s ombudsman said Wednesday.

Paul Dubé’s report, following years of work begun under his predecessor André Marin, isn’t flashy or bombastic. Just a businesslike chronicle of how well-meaning officers follow their instructions and end up killing people unnecessarily.

Marin started the job after a Toronto officer killed disturbed teenager Sammy Yatim on a streetcar. Yatim, who according to his family had no history of mental illness and was acting out of character, had a knife and had attacked another passenger. But by the time Const. James Forcillo shot him, the streetcar was empty and Yatim was isolated. A jury eventually convicted Forcillo of attempted murder, but only because the officer kept shooting at Yatim — six more times — after he was already down.

Very often, killings by police officers involve people who are mentally ill, Dubé’s report says, and that’s in spite of investigations and coroners’ reports that have told the government that the police aren’t trained to deal with sick people who are acting out in public.

“Our investigation found that Ontario officers have plenty of training on how to use their guns, but not enough on how to use their mouths,” Dubé says.

Every constable in Ontario goes through a standard program at the provincial police college, then gets refreshers and updates from his or her own department. Some police services are better at this stuff than others, Dubé found. But one thing that’s practically universal is the sense that the correct way to deal with an unco-operative person is to increase the pressure.

Sometimes the mere arrival of a police officer is enough to settle someone down. Then the officer tries talking, then speaking firmly, then giving direct orders. Then comes mild “empty-hand” force, then attempts to restrain, and then punches and kicks. The next step is non-lethal devices like batons and pepper spray and Tasers. Then guns.

This sequence used to be taught as a continuum, until someone realized it suggested to young officers they should expect to move along the line from no force to deadly force until a suspect is under control. So they changed it in the textbooks to a wheel, which is just a line bent into a circle that now nonsensically puts deadly force next to simple “officer presence.” Plus it adds the feeling that the passage of time means moving inexorably around the wheel, still toward shooting a suspect down.

Worse, the use-of-force model assumes the police are dealing with rational people. People caught in paranoid delusions aren’t. They might not respond even to the basic “Police! Don’t move!” command that officers are taught to give, and then enforce. Yelling at them more can make things worse.

“The problem is not that police officers aren’t following their training. They are. The problem is the training itself,” Dubé reports. The idea that sometimes an officer should just hold steady, or even back off a little, is not taught in detail, Dubé found. It’s certainly not emphasized.

The police college training course in Ontario is among the shortest in Canada (12 weeks, versus 21 in British Columbia, say, and 24 for the RCMP) and even instructors there think there ought to be more time for practical exercises. They do the best they can in the time they have.

“There are countless cases where police have successfully de-escalated and peacefully resolved situations that might otherwise have ended in bloodshed. However, there is no formal mechanism to incorporate lessons learned from such cases into what Ontario police are taught, either as recruits or during annual on-the-job refresher courses,” the report says.

Dubé’s report criticizes Ottawa’s Yasir Naqvi, who was the minister in charge of policing until a couple of weeks ago, for fooling around on the issue, agreeing with the gist of the recommendations but not promising to do much of anything. The ministry told Dubé it’s reviewing policing in Ontario, which is true but not really the point, and Dubé didn’t think that was good enough.

Naqvi’s response was “disappointing and perplexing,” Dubé writes, capped off with a “baffling” letter saying the ministry would respond to the recommendations later. Which is not how it’s supposed to work.

“I strongly encourage (the ministry and its minister) to review the human costs of their legacy of inaction, and to finally make this issue a priority,” the report concludes.

Naqvi’s replacement as the minister of community safety, David Orazietti, agreed Wednesday to adopt the whole report and follow its recommendations.

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/ ... dsman-says
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