A police constable’s death has crushed Winnipeg police’s confidence to level officers describe as the lowest ever in the force, and they place the blame squarely on the service chief for letting it happen.
A number of the officers told local media that the constable killed himself, partly due to the pressure from social movements asking for reforms and the service’s defunding.
Union representatives also criticized police Chief Danny Smyth for a serious lack of morale among the officers, something they attributed to his poor leadership style.
Anger against the police chief reached its peak after it was identified that he did not communicate his concern for the officer’s death. He did not attend one of two memorial processions the officers arranged for the former colleague.
He was involved in a procession of vehicles downtown Winnipeg this past Wednesday. Still, He was a no-show at the first event.
Others loaded criticism on the Chief and senior management over what they claim is their lack of communication with rank and file regarding Black Lives Matter’s impact and the service’s defunding.
The Chief acknowledged that his officers are under intense stress, and the death of one of their own has made things worse. He added the late officer’s family had received support from the chaplaincy and behavioral health units.
He added that he is aware that staff members have been under intense stress in the wake of mounting pressure asking that they change how they police. However, he added that communication with rank and file regarding changes in the services was hampered by the current pandemic, which prevented officers from meeting like they used to.
Smyth is currently on a 2-year extension as Chief and noted that it is not time for him to vacate the office.