Police union seeks third-party workplace assessment of WPS
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This article was published 05/03/2021 (701 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Winnipeg Police Association is calling for the Winnipeg Police Service to conduct a third-party workplace assessment, in response to reported low morale among members.
Union president Maurice Sabourin made the request official Friday in a letter to WPS Chief Danny Smyth.
“I am deeply concerned over the state of morale in the WPS, and yet, at the end of the day, even all of the negative reports I just referenced are still only one data point. The WPA believes we need a complete picture of the problem,” Sabourin wrote.
“We are proposing to move forward with an objective survey and assessment of the members and their morale. We know that Canadian-based expertise to assist in this sort of assessment exists, and we have already contacted one such organization to explore options.”
The letter comes in the wake of revelations of infighting and strife among WPS members, following a summer of racial reckoning and growing anti-police protest movements.
Sabourin said there is a “clear, present and growing moral crisis,” and pointed to two recent deaths of Winnipeg police officers — one of whom died by suicide — as underscoring the importance of addressing the situation.
“The WPS has a role to play in helping Winnipeg to grow and thrive, and our members cannot do this if their workplace is not safe and healthy, and if the leadership appropriate to the moment is not in place,” Sabourin wrote.
“Yes, these are difficult times for our community, but that is not an acceptable basis to tolerate lack of execution… The current morale crisis did not develop overnight, and it will not be solved overnight.”
The letter came one day after Sabourin told the Free Press morale has fallen so low in the WPS he’s not sure it can be repaired under Smyth’s leadership.
Smyth told the Free Press morale on the force was indeed low, but he also pointed to environmental factors — such as growing social justice movements critical of the police and novel coronavirus pandemic — as contributing causes.
The WPA represents more than 1,800 police officers and civilian support staff.