March 8, 2009
By CHRIS KITCHING, SUN MEDIA
Winnipeg's top cop says he's confident the city's 1,300-plus officers will be re-trained on Taser use every 12 months -- on top of their regular duties and other training -- to continue carrying the weapon.
It will be a bit of a juggling act, however, to balance schedules of officers, whose training is done while they're on the clock, and for instructors to get everyone through on time.
"The challenges are getting the time available, making sure we still have (enough officers) on the street and making sure we have instructors available," police Chief Keith McCaskill said.
He made the remarks in response to a report that found some officers' training, as of last August, had not been revisited within the one-year window.
McCaskill said it was due to a change in training standards after city police began using Tasers in late 2006.
Re-training became an annual requirement, instead of every two years, according to standards created by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
There wasn't enough time to fit everyone into sessions before their year expired but even then the officers still had adequate training, McCaskill said.
To satisfy CALEA, the officers who missed their annual training were not allowed to use Tasers until they were re-trained by last December, the report found.
"It was difficult because we put them through in a couple of months. We were training days and evenings to get it done," McCaskill said.
Every officer's training is now up to date, he said.
The Taser re-training issue was brought up in a CALEA review and report on the renewal of the service's police accreditation.
CALEA gave city police straight As in its report, which cited few concerns but did identify well-documented complaints from the public -- long response times to low-priority calls and a strained relationship between police and aboriginals.
Three CALEA members visited Winnipeg last August to judge police on up to 460 standards, analyzing everything from operations and crime data to demographics and hiring practices. Participation in the process is voluntary.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Sunday, March 08, 2009
March 8, 2009