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Police associations want bail reform after five officers killed in line of duty in 4 months


After the killing of five police officers in the past four months, some of the largest police associations in the country are calling for a change in the criminal justice system.

In a joint statement, the associations and police chiefs called for bail reform and support for frontline officers.

In an interview with CTV News on Friday, OPPA President John Cerasuolo said, "enough is enough."

"We just can't continue doing this," he added, noting a discussion needed to be had with government officials at both the provincial and federal level, as well as with the chiefs of police and police associations, to address this issue.

"One of the biggest complaints that we're getting right now is that they're arresting people in the morning, and later that afternoon or night, they're dealing with the same person again and again. Something needs to be done," the OPPA president said. "We need to start looking at bail violations. We need to analyze them. We need to have the discussions on what we can do better."

OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique echoed those sentiments, stating, "The murder of constable Greg was preventable. This should've never happened."

On Wednesday, thousands gathered at the Sadlon Arena in Barrie, Ont., for the funeral of OPP Const. Greg Pierzchala, who was gunned down while responding to a call about a vehicle in a ditch west of Hagersville, Ont., on Dec. 27.

Months earlier, in October, two South Simcoe police officers, Devon Northrup and Morgan Russell, were fatally shot while responding to a distress call at an Innisfil, Ont., home.

Two other police officers also died in 2022 in the line of duty - an RCMP constable was stabbed, and a Toronto constable was shot.

Five police officers have been killed in the line of duty in Canada between September to December 2022.

"The scale has tipped so far towards the right of the accused that the right of the public to be safe is almost a secondary issue, and that needs to tip back the other way," said CTV's public safety analyst and former OPP commissioner Chris Lewis.

"It's obvious that something is not working with this catch and release system whereby people are out on bail for violent crimes and cases where the police officers haven't even finished typing the report on it yet - and in some cases paroled and notations made in the file that they're highly likely to re-offend.

I mean, what is wrong with that picture? It's not good for public safety, and it's certainly not good for officer safety," Lewis concluded.

With files from CTV's Kim Phillips Top Stories

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