October 4, 2018
MANITOBA INVESTS IN DRUG ENFORCEMENT, SPECIALIZED TOOLS AND TRAINING FOR WINNIPEG POLICE SERVICE
The Manitoba government is investing nearly $350,000 in the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS), with over half the funding dedicated to specialized resources and training to protect officers and the community from the risks of illegal drugs and drug enforcement, Justice Minister Cliff Cullen announced today.
“Police officers require specialized tools, resources and training to help reduce the risks associated with their jobs, especially the dangers of drugs such as methamphetamine,” said Cullen. “These strategic investments help ensure Winnipeg police can adapt and respond to the needs of the community, while also supporting officer safety.”
The WPS will receive more than $38,000 to replace four self-contained breathing apparatuses used by officers working in the clandestine lab unit, who respond in high-risk situations involving large quantities of methamphetamine, fentanyl and other illicit drugs. They are responsible for identifying, seizing and safely disposing of these drugs, and their specialized skills and equipment help ensure the safety of other officers and the public.
Provincial funds will also purchase a hand-held narcotics and explosives detector, valued at approximately $22,000, to help officers immediately identify the presence of drugs and gunshot or explosive residue. Another $13,400 will be invested to provide specialized training to members of the WPS drug enforcement unit including sending:
- one officer to a 10-day course focused on investigative techniques on topics such as confidential informants, criminal organizations and clandestine labs;
- two officers who may be called to testify as expert witnesses to a five-day course focused on court testimony, case law and other matters; and
- two members to a five-day course to build expertise related to covert operations, complex drug investigations and related legal considerations.
“Illegal guns, gangs and the illicit drug trade continue to present unique investigative challenges for the Winnipeg Police Service,” said Max Waddell, Inspector, Winnipeg Police Service.” With the latest addition of innovative operational equipment and advanced training techniques, this will ensure that our police members achieve safe and successful outcomes.”
The funding for these resources is provided through the province’s Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund. Other specialized equipment the WPS will receive this year includes:
- equipment needed to expand the tactical emergency medical support unit, to 24 from 20 members;
- first aid kits, tourniquets and related devices for officers who may be required to provide first aid when responding to high-risk situations;
- a tactical robot equipped with a camera, used to inspect potentially dangerous situations while keeping officers at a safe distance;
- specialized training related to 911 operations for members of the emergency call centre;
- an automated licence plate reader to identify vehicles connected to outstanding warrants and criminal activity, while also supporting better traffic enforcement;
- training for members of the technological crimes unit focused on smartphone forensic investigations; and
- a portable hailing device that would allow officers to communicate more clearly and effectively in large crowds.
The minister noted more than $1.4 million will be distributed this year through the Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund. Since its inception, approximately $19 million in assets have been successfully forfeited to Manitoba and distributed to law enforcement agencies in Manitoba.
For more information about criminal property forfeiture, visit www.gov.mb.ca/justice/safe/cpf/index.html.
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