Create a National Database for Police Involved Deaths in Canada
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The Department of Justice must create a comprehensive national database of police involved deaths to take necessary steps toward preventing more senseless killings. Please sign our petition.
I am starting this petition on behalf of my brother Michael MacIsaac. Michael was shot by a Durham Regional Police officer on December 2nd, 2013 while experiencing the combined effects of a high fever and epileptic seizure, he tragically died from his injures on December 3rd, 2013.
Since that time we have been troubled to discover that there is NO national database of police killings or use of excessive force incidents in Canada. In fact, there is no accurate tally of police shootings across our country, not even the deadly ones.
How common are such incidents of police use of force, lethal and non-lethal in Canada? Are the numbers increasing? Has there been progress in our approach to policing in Canada? The undisputed reality is that we do not know.
While this matter specifically raises important issues around the lack of training for officers who deal with people who are experiencing a moment of crisis or who have mental health issues; there are also human rights implications as well under Canada human rights code.
Police abuse is one of the most serious and divisive human rights violations in Canada and we need to increase transparency of interactions between law-enforcement officials and the public.
We do not ask that this data be gathered to criticize police, it is about changing areas where there are significant problems and Police departments should want this type of information, as it could very well benefit them. This database can serve as a red flag to identifying problems within a police department. Sometimes these problems can be tied to poor leadership and lack of accountability.
Police can use national data about killings and excessive force to improve tactics and training – particularly when dealing with people who are in crisis or who are mentally ill. As well as identify shortcomings in recruitment, training and management. Any organization, wanting to become more effective should welcome this data.
Police officers can make mistakes, or allow personal bias and emotions to enter into policing – and because they are allowed, as a last resort, to use potentially lethal force to subdue individuals they apprehend – police must be subjected to intense scrutiny.
We support and urge the Ministry to collect this data and to release it in an annual public report and we also emphasize how imperative it is that measures be taken to ensure that all Police departments across this nation are reporting this information, and if they are not doing it we need to make sure there are consequences.
These statistics can drive the need for policy and training changes at National, Provincial & Departmental levels that will result in fewer officer involved shootings while improving outcomes and safety for both officers and citizens.
We cannot reiterate enough that just ONE death of a citizen at the hands of police in this country is one too many, and we ask that this data be used to look at the shortcomings in the Canadian law enforcement policies and practices, as well as recommend improvements for police departments around this country.
As a family that has suffered an enormous loss, we implore you to sign this petition; both in light of public interest and the importance human rights it is essential for our government to gain a national picture of police use of force.
Simply put, the collection of this data is necessary to know what works and what does not work, which policies practices are effective and which ones have unintended consequences.
We would like to leave you with this question, when police officers are killed there is a very careful account and there is a national database …. Why not the other side of the ledger?
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