Bylaw feels officers are safe enough on Kamloops streets

By Chad Klassen
June 20, 2017 - 5:20pm

KAMLOOPS — Days after the city determined bylaw officers should not carry batons, pepper spray, or handcuffs on Kamloops streets, the city's community safety department addressed council on Tuesday about the decision. 

Bylaw manager John Ramsey says a consultant reviewed the department and officer safety, and recommended that bylaw officers do not need tools like pepper spray to protect themselves. 

He says the report suggested the city focus on compliance rather than enforcement.

"I think the key piece for this whole thing is, the report was meant to make sure everyone was being heard, including the public," said Ramsey. "We did an online survey. This is what the public and stakeholders are asking for. They want us to be more compliance-based. They want us to address some of the safety needs of the community, the perception of being unsafe. In order to do that, having more presence and being available for the public is more important."

Ramsey says bylaw officers feel safe on the streets for the most part. He feels they are provided with adequate training to keep themselves out of danger.

"Currently we do have training. Staff are expected to attend that and participate," he said. "We've done Canadian mental health first-aid for the officers, a two-day course talking about how to interact with different population groups we might encounter."

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