Ontario cops concerned it’s become ‘open season on police officers’

Ontario cops concerned it’s become ‘open season on police officers’

Breadcrumb Trail Links Toronto & GTA Ontario Crime

After another cop killing, the Ontario Provincial Police Association vows to “turn outrage into action” and urge lawmakers to make changes

Pallbearers carry the coffin of OPP Const. Grzegorz (Greg) Pierzchala following his memorial service at Sadlon Arena in Barrie, Ont., Wednesday January 4, 2023. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS /Frank Gunn Article content

Police officers across the province are outraged by the rising lawlessness, with officers being assaulted while responding to even the most routine calls.

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After Wednesday’s funeral service for OPP Const. Grzegorz “Greg” Pierzchala — the sixth police officer to be killed on duty in the province in just over two years, five of whom were shot dead — says the Ontario Provincial Police Association that members feel their lives are more than they have been is ever in danger.

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“They wonder if it’s an open season for cops,” OPPA President John Cerasuolo told the Toronto Sun on Thursday, adding that the recent spate of cop killings should alarm everyone.

“When the safety of front-line officers becomes an issue, it also raises safety concerns for the public,” he said, explaining that if people are willing to pull out a gun and shoot a police officer, then they will not hesitate to open fire to open someone

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Pierzchala, 28, was responding to a vehicle in a ditch near Hagersville on December 27 when he was gunned down, allegedly by one of the occupants – Randall McKenzie, 25 – who was on bail at the time for allegedly assaulting a police officer was and possessed a handgun.

“If we don’t do something about it and push the legislature to make changes, we will be confronted with it again and again,” said Cerasuolo.

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And after being inundated with calls and messages from officials expressing their concerns, the OPPA president sent a message to members on Wednesday night, assuring them the association plans to take action.

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“Greg was mugged. He didn’t stand a chance,” says Cerasuolo in the message, which was obtained from the sun. “He was a promising young officer whose future was stolen by a criminal who ignored Greg’s life.”

“We are all outraged by the fact that one of his alleged killers has been released on bail on charges of assaulting a police officer and numerous firearms charges,” he added.

Cerasuolo tells members that the OPPA “will translate our outrage into action”.

“We intend to vigorously address the circumstances in our criminal justice system that led to Greg’s assassination,” he says.

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While officers have been murdered on duty in Canada over the past five months, four of them in Ontario, Cerasuolo says many other officers and citizens have also been injured and people on bail have changed their lives forever.

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“Now is the time for all of us to act to address the shortcomings of our criminal justice system,” Cerasuolo said at the embassy.

“OPPA will work with our police association partners, police service partners, victim groups, and the federal and state governments to make recommendations that not only improve the safety of officers and the public, but also make the criminal justice system more effective for all,” he says.

“Our intention is to review case law, regulations, legislation, resource allocation and funding,” explains Cerasuolo. “We will leave no stone unturned.

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