The union representing police officers in Winnipeg is raising the alarm about the potential for more absenteeism due to injuries and stress caused by the recent crime wave.
Moe Sabourin, president of the Winnipeg Police Association, told 680 CJOB that officer burnout this past summer meant it was difficult filling shifts… and that it’s hard to predict how much impact this will have on the police in the long term.
“They’re just maxed out, and I have great concerns for not only the physical, but also the mental health of our members,” said Sabourin.
“Members were asked if they wanted to stay extra time to take calls, and most of the members are refusing that extra overtime or the call-outs to fill shortages when they’re on their days off.”
Sabourin said it’s easy for Winnipeggers to imagine how traumatic recent violent incidents can be for front-line officers, as daily headlines reflect the difficult situations police deal with.
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In a statement to Global News, however, police said injuries and sick time fluctuate every year so it isn’t easy to connect the recent violence with the increase in absenteeism.
Sabourin said budgetary restraints mean more stress on the backs of officers.
“I don’t expect that those (crime) numbers are going to drop in the near future. You can take your foot of the gas in a crisis – and everybody’s calling it a crisis, but the mayor is still cutting back on our budget.”
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