Another serious incident involving an off-duty member of the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) outside of the downtown WPS headquarters highlights the continued risks faced by Winnipeg Police Association (WPA) members by a lack of secure parking at WPS facilities. Inaction by WPS leadership, Mayor Brian Bowman and City Council has prompted the WPA to write to the Provincial Government about the situation.
“In December of last year one of our off-duty members was stabbed while leaving the headquarters building and now, less than two months later, we have yet another serious incident, one where the suspect motioned to produce a weapon, which could have turned into a much more serious situation,” said WPA President Maurice (Moe) Sabourin. “Let’s be clear – criminals commit crimes, but these crimes are being facilitated by the lack of a safe and secure parking facility for our members at WPS facilities. This is something that Mayor Brian Bowman and WPS Chief Danny Smyth have known about for years, and yet they refuse to address it.”
Sabourin noted the WPA has documented over 100 incidents involving WPA members and staff attending or leaving work – including a stabbing, serious assaults, threats and sabotage to members’ vehicles. This information has been provided to the WPS command, members of City Council and to Mayor Bowman. On December 1, 2017, Mayor Bowman told the media he “promised to take up the matter of safety with Police Chief Danny Smyth.” But so far no response has been provided or any steps taken. The WPA has now written to Manitoba Growth, Enterprise & Trade seeking further action.
“In what other workplace would management tolerate an environment where employees are stabbed or assaulted coming to and leaving work? The silence on this issue is deafening,” said Sabourin. “Will someone have to lose their life before appropriate action is taken? Our members are willing to put their lives on the line to protect Winnipeg families while doing their duty, but shouldn’t be at risk while parking. We are hopeful that communicating with the Provincial Government will help remind the Mayor and the Chief of their responsibilities for the safety of employees.”