” Who will be the next one ? The police denounce the lack of surveillance surrounding people struggling with mental health problems who have a high level of dangerousness. A symposium was held on Wednesday under the sign of emotion, after the death of Sergeant Maureen Breau, Monday in Louiseville.
“Events like that, you feel the impact for everyone. Now, the police are going to ask themselves a question every day: who will be next? “, launched the president of the Association of provincial police officers of Quebec (APPQ), Jacques Painchaud, in an interview with La Presse, on the sidelines of the 15th symposium of the Circle of Police Defense Representatives (CRDP) in Brossard.
He argues that police officers sometimes have difficulty “explaining how” certain people with a “high level of dangerousness” regularly find themselves on the loose “with so little control, and so little follow-up”. “We need to feel that the health services, the CIUSSS and the authorities are there to make a correct connection with the person, who is often not criminalized,” continues Mr. Painchaud.
Mr. Painchaud also recalls that most police interventions with people struggling with mental health problems go well. “You don’t hear about it, but for the police, the anxiety and stress builds up. When a situation like the one we are experiencing happens, we sort of take stock. And we say to ourselves that we could all have experienced the same thing, ”continues the union leader.
Several “gaps” surrounding police work remain, he said, in this kind of situation. “How come, for example, not enough people are trained for these situations? The regional reality also means that the back-up is often not fast or sometimes non-existent. These are things that need to be discussed,” he said.
At the Federation of Municipal Police Officers of Quebec (FPMQ), President François Lemay agrees. “Mental health was already on the rise in 2019. The pandemic just exacerbated the situation, but we haven’t seen much change since. We have to stop working in silos when it comes to mental health. I’ve been saying that for three years,” he insists.
For him, the phenomenon should be worrying for everyone. “It also comes down to saying that you have to take care of the citizens. Mr. and Mrs. Everybody, they don’t necessarily feel safe when you release someone who has mental health problems without any real follow-up, and send them back with their neighbors. »
Also on site Wednesday, Canadian Police Association (CPA) President Tom Stamatakis spoke of a “difficult year” for police officers across the country, with eight of them killed in connection with their work. “It is something very exceptional, which we are not used to. We must do everything to prevent this from becoming the norm in Canada. There is a lot of work,” he said.
On Tuesday, La Presse reported that the man suspected of having killed Sûreté du Québec Sergeant Maureen Breau during a trivial operation on Monday evening in Louiseville, Mauricie, had a criminal and mental health history and represented “a significant risk” to the safety of the public, which did not prevent him from being released under severe conditions.
Isaac Brouillard Lessard, 35, has five not guilty verdicts on account of mental disorder since 2014 for assault with a weapon and death threats, among other things, against members of the medical staff responsible for his treatment.