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From morale to shootings, police association hopes for more input

CPA President Les Kaminski, far right, speaks to reporters. Wednesday, January 11th, 2017. (Lucas Meyer - 660 NEWS)

The new president of the Calgary Police Association is hoping for more input when it comes to decision-making that affects his members, on everything from force morale to how to bring down the number of police-involved shootings.

“The citizens of Calgary have voiced their concerns and have heard from the service and from the police commission, but not from where the rubber hits the road,” Les Kaminski said Wednesday. “I’m very pleased to inform you that after a two-year absence, the Calgary Police Commission has invited the police association to return to the table.”

While the association doesn’t have a seat on the police commission board, Kaminski said they will be involved when they have meetings.

“Now they’re going to have them more regularly, we’ve asked for at least two a year, we’ve said probably three times a year, we’d like to sit and meet so we can discuss the issues that do come up,” he said.

As for issues Kaminski wants to bring forward, they include forced tenure, resource allocation, gender equity, discipline and improving the overall work environment.

2016 was a rough one for Calgary police, with 10 officer-involved shootings, five of which were fatal, along with allegations of bullying and harassment within the force over the last few years.

Kaminski said when it comes to shootings, police needs to target the roots of the crime.

“We are answering more calls where those decisions have to be made,” he said. “For example, car thefts, if we hit the prolific offenders, we can probably cut car thefts in half, it’s been proven in the past.”

As for the allegations of harassment and bullying, Kaminski said there’s no denying members have been mistreated.

“The vast majority of our members are absolutely solid individuals, it’s not systemic,” he said. “Generally speaking, we have really good people that treat their own really well.”

Kaminski had previously emailed officers to stand with him at the Wednesday press conference to show solidarity, but after a productive meeting with the Calgary Police Commission and the CPS executive Tuesday, as well as comments made by CPC Chair Brian Thiessen, decided to stand himself.

“In respect to that, because we felt that we have won what we wanted to achieve yesterday, I decided to appear here in front of you,” he said.

On Tuesday, Thiessen told 660 NEWS that he’s always willing to listen to CPA leadership.

“We don’t need to see a large number of members show up for us to take them seriously, I have a lot of respect for their abilities,” he said. “They can pick up the phone anytime.”