Barrie, ON, November 13, 2018/CNW/ - OPP Association (OPPA) President Rob Jamieson and Director Harold Coffin joined Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Sylvia Jones, at the Police Association of Ontario’s Annual Lobby Day to support the government’s announcement of changes to the Police Services Act, which will provide an exemption to the reporting of incidents of death or serious injury where naloxone or other emergency first aid is administered.
“We are very pleased that the government has adopted a fair and common sense approach to oversight in these cases,” said Jamieson. “When the current regulation was written, naloxone was rarely used as a life-saving measure. This update to the Police Services Act, which reflects the current reality of policing in Ontario, is a reasonable, well thought out approach.”
In August, when the OPPA called for the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) to end the practice of subjecting officers to these types of investigations, Jamieson highlighted the impact to his members. “Our members do what every other first responder would do in these situations – they try to save a life. But when they use naloxone and the victim does not survive, they know that a long and stressful investigation by the SIU will soon follow. Putting an officer through a traumatic situation, then asking them to relive that very trauma through the SIU investigation could be detrimental to their mental health,” Jamieson said at the time. “Today’s announcement will go a long way in mitigating the mental health risks our members face during the course of an unnecessary investigation.”
Jamieson went on to say that although officers whose only interaction with a person is to administer naloxone to someone suffering from an overdose will not automatically be the subject of an investigation by the SIU, oversight of policing in Ontario remains strong, as does police support for it.
“Our members fully realize how important an effective police oversight regime is in maintaining the public’s trust. Having said that, oversight must be reasonable, fair and effective,” said Jamieson. “Today’s announcement strikes a perfect balance for officers who find themselves administering life-saving measures to a member of the public.”
While praising the changes announced this morning, Jamieson was clear in his support for the continued efforts of the government to support sworn and civilian members of law enforcement.
“Once again, this government has shown their willingness to listen to the experts in policing – those front line members of the law enforcement community,” Jamieson said. “Our new minister has clearly hit the ground running on an important portfolio for communities across Ontario.”
About the Ontario Provincial Police Association
Headquartered in Barrie, the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) acts as the bargaining agent for its nearly 10,000 uniform and civilian members. Of equal importance, the OPPA serves as the voice of its members in advocating for improved health and safety standards and better supports for members suffering from operational stress injuries.
Rob Jamieson, President, Ontario Provincial Police Association