KAWARTHA LAKES-“The system needs to change. And it needs to change now” says four of Canada’s largest police associations.
The remarks come after Haldimand County OPP officer Greg Pierzchala was allegedly gunned down in broad daylight while responding to a call for a vehicle in the ditch on December 27th. Two people have been charged with first-degree murder. One of the accused was out on bail for assaulting a Hamilton police officer and possessing a handgun, according to court documents.
The four police associations, representing more than 60,000 sworn and civilian police personnel, announced today they have joined forces to confront the “growing wave of violence against police and the communities they serve and protect”.
“On Wednesday, January 4th, 2023, we bid a final heartbreaking farewell to yet another of our officers. Haldimand County OPP Constable Greg Pierzchala was gunned down in broad daylight coming to the aid of what he thought were citizens in distress with a car in the ditch. The senseless murder of this young, promising and valued member of the OPP has left us all devastated and grieving particularly for his family, friends and colleagues.” said a joint statement from the Canadian Police Association, the Police Association of Ontario, the Ontario Provincial Police Association, and the Toronto Police Association.
“Losing one police officer is obviously losing one too many. Yet the horrible reality is Constable Pierzchala is one of five officers in Canada killed on duty just in the past four months. We also mourn the loss of Const. Devon Northrup (South Simcoe Police), Const. Morgan Russell (South Simcoe Police), Const. Shaelyn Yang (RCMP) and Const. Andrew Hong (Toronto Police).”
The groups say they cannot allow the deaths of five of their members to go unchallenged and are hoping to identify the issues that led to the violence.
“Together over the next days, weeks, and months we will review the judicial and public safety frameworks, commit to further research to fully understand the best remedies, identify what isn’t working, and call for change to ensure that this does not continue. Everything will be on the table – from bail to sentencing, to enhancing Crime Stoppers, to a growing and chronic shortage of police officers,” the statement continues.
Officials say they will be reaching out to members, their communities, and all Canadians to help ensure their recommendations are followed by action at all levels of government and society.
“Our members need to be safe. Our communities need to be safe.”