KAWARTHA LAKES- In 2023, Kawartha Lakes Police Service officers drew guns 11 times as compared to nine in 2022.
The numbers are part of the Use of Force report stats that were presented to the Police Services Board in Lindsay this morning.
Officers submitted fifteen individual Use of Force Reports involving a total of twenty force options in 2022. Four of those case reports involved more than one force option being utilised.
The report found when multiple force options were used, it was the combination of a firearm being drawn and a Taser or CEW being drawn as well on every occasion. Police say in each one of these occasions, the use of force was to facilitate an arrest with four incidents involving multiple officers for weapons-related calls.
According to the report the majority of 11 incidents where a handgun was drawn, or a firearm was pointed, involved a high-risk situation or weapons call. In 2023, officers responded in this nature to three incidents where firearms were involved and six incidents involving knives or edged weapons. In each of the incidents, a weapon was recovered. On all occasions, the firearms were drawn and/or pointed to affect an arrest, one of which was for the arrest of an impaired driver who had a shotgun concealed in the vehicle according to the report. A second was for the arrest of a suspect who was wanted for stealing a vehicle and was in the process of stealing a second vehicle.
Inspector Tom Hickey told the board that in years past most firearms calls turned out to be imitation firearms or unfounded but times have changed.
“The majority of our use of force incidents now do actually involve our officers removing their firearm from the holster and actually pointing it at someone and that’s consistent I think with our increase in gun seizures.” Hickey explained “We used to have firearms calls where we were dealing with imitation firearms or it turned out not to be a firearm at all. I think every one of our seizures this year has been real firearms and highlighted by Tuesday’s interaction where we seized a Glock handgun that originated in Tallahassee Florida.”
The Kawartha Lakes Police Service Criminal Investigations Branch arrested a 35-year-old Lindsay man on January 16th and seized a loaded Glock handgun and a large quantity of drugs including Methamphetamine, Cocaine and Fentanyl. Read more here: https://www.kawartha411.ca/2024/01/17/loaded-handgun-cocaine-meth-and-fentanyl-reportedly-seized-by-police-in-lindsay/
Hickey says unfortunately he thinks that trend will continue.
Although officers drew their guns 11 times in 2023, they did not discharge them, except to dispatch an animal.
Officers drew a taser on four occasions in 2023 and it was deployed once in drive/stun mode. Each time the CEW was drawn and/or deployed was to conduct the arrest of a combative or assaultive suspect according to the report.
Hickey says the use of force is generally trending downward overall and that every deployment of a use-of-force option was accompanied by the officer’s use of verbal interaction.
Officers responded to 403 mental health-related calls in 2023 with officers using force once when it was reported a woman was threatening suicide with a handgun. No handgun was found.
In 2022, City of Kawartha Lakes Police Officers submitted thirteen Use of Force Reports involving a total of seventeen force options. 2 reports involved more than one force option being utilised. Officers pointed a gun nine times in 2022. Police say all incidents where a handgun was drawn or pointed at another person in 2022, except one involved the belief that a firearm was involved. In two of those incidents, replica firearms were recovered. Two
of the incidents involved officers responding to shooting scenes, and one involved a barricaded person.
Changes to the report criteria in 2023 meant police had to submit individual reports for incidents where multiple options were used. In the past, this would have counted as only one use of force.