Police cadets to patrol Winnipeg streets

Police Chief Keith McCaskill shows off the new cadet uniform
Photo Credit: Winnipeg Free Press

As early as September 2010, Winnipeggers could see more police presence on their streets.

The city has received the go-ahead to train 30 police cadets to take to the streets 18 hours a day, freeing up regular officers for more pressing police matters. The city would like to increase the force to 50 officers by January, 2011 if the new recruitment website is successful.

Although the program will train the cadets to act as peace officers, they won’t have all the same rights as regular constables. The city doesn’t have the ability to give the cadets special constable status, enabling them to perform arrests under special circumstances. For that, they turn to the province to decide the exact duties and authority of the cadets.

“My view is probably the Liquor Control Act, the Highway Traffic Act, some of the provincial acts that are necessary for them to be able to enforce,” says Police Chief Keith McCaskill.

At a press conference March 22, the Chief, Justice Minister Andrew Swan, and Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz introduced the program and revealed the uniforms the cadets would wear. Along with standard black pants and a bright turquoise T-shirt, the cadets will carry batons and pepper spray – but not guns.

“They’ll have a complete use-of-force package training,” says McCaskill. “There’s nine weeks of training inside and seven weeks of training outside, which is really extensive for what they need.”

Not only does this program get more bodies on the streets, it’s cheap. The cadets will start at an hourly wage of just $12, significantly less than the starting wage of a regular constable (approx. $43,000 a year). After weeks of discussion, the city and the province have decided to split the cost of the program 50/50.

The city’s police service may be excited about the new program, but what do Winnipeggers have to say about the new additions to the force?

“As long as they’re patrolling the streets, and not setting up speed traps, I’m fine with it,” says Jamison Ade via Facebook message.

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Emily Baron Cadloff of Red River College

  • User since Oct 27th 2009, 09:37