The ongoing concerns about the Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and their investigations of officers in naloxone cases, have reached to the meeting held between the Association of Police Chiefs and the Minister of Community Safety, On Wednesday.
The meeting was arranged for the discussion of police reform and oversight, as the Progressive Conservative government modifies their plans for the future of law enforcement in the province.
Among the discussed issues, major was the association’s concern about SIU and their investigations of officers who unsuccessfully administers naloxone to an overdose victim, according to the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) Executive Director Jeff McGuire.
The Special Investigations Unit is the civilian oversight agency, which investigates the cases involving police officers that result in serious injury, death, or allegations of sexual assault. It stated that they have a mandate to investigate the cases, where an officers provides the opioid antidote naloxone to people who overdose and ultimately die.
However, the officers’ unions and police services have argued that the process puts unnecessary stress and scrutiny on officers who are simply trying to save people from lethal overdoses.
The SIU earlier this week, had announced an investigation into an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer in Midland, as he had provided cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and naloxone to a 31-year-old woman who ultimately died.
On Wednesday, Rob Jamieson, the President of the union representing OPP officers, issued a statement appealing the police watchdog to put an end to this practice. He said that they “want to send a clear message that we don’t think this is appropriate.”
Concerns about SIU investigations have been cited by many police services as an obstruction to decision of carrying the opioid antidote in the first place.
The Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) has has a meeting arranged to discuss their concerns, with Ontario’s Attorney-General Caroline Mulroney.
On Wednesday, Mulroney’s office stated that they cannot comment on the processed or investigations of SIU.
McGuire said that at Wednesday’s meeting, the Community Safety Minister Michael Tibollo was “receptive” to their concerns about SIU’s oversight in naloxone cases.
Tibollo’s office sent an e-mail statement on Wednesday, that said the PC government is “currently engaged in on-the-ground research and policy development to identify and address harmful gaps” in Ontario’s community safety and corrections systems – which they say has been “damaged by 15 years of Liberal neglect.”