Regina’s new police chief is excited for what 2017 will bring.
Evan Bray was selected to succeed the retiring Troy Hagen in Oct. 2016.
While the recent rise in crime is a challenge, Bray sees that as more of an opportunity to tackle some long-standing issues in Regina.
“We need to do what we can to get a handle of the drug problem that is in our city and what comes with that, which is often high-risk behaviour and decisions that are not good that include quite often weapons and firearms,” Bray explained.
“But drug users in many cases, they commit crime and are involved in criminal behaviour, as a result of their addiction, so let’s look at their addiction and how we can get them healthy.”
And Bray believes police officers have a role to play in that addiction fight.
“Social justice to me provides a longer and more sustainable stop to crime than just going out and trying to catch bad guys.”
2017 will pose a unique challenge as police around the country deal with the implications of the federal government’s plan to legalize marijuana.
Legislation is expected to be introduced in the spring.
Bray maintains the big issue will likely be on the enforcement of impaired driving and how to measure whether someone is driving while high.
“That’s an onerus piece of work for us and that adds more officers to an investigation of someone who is impaired by drug, there’s extra cost and a lot that surrounds that,” Bray contended.
“I hope the municipal, the provincial and federal governments will take this into consideration and will be able to make some adjustment to help us manage the effects of this in our communities.”
Bray hopes the Canadian Police College will offer further training for officers as they adjust to the new pot laws.
Going forward Bray believes we can all play a role in reducing crime, whether it be by locking our vehicles or securing our valuables.
“Often petty crimes becomes a crime of opportunity so someone stealing money, sunglasses, something from a car, it’s because they walked by flipped the handle and the car was unlocked right,” Bray said.
“People will take advantage of a situation and so there’s a bit of a balance, we need to do what we can as citizens to protect ourselves as well and not make ourselves a target of crime.”