City council to soon discuss equipping Kamloops bylaw officers with weapons - InfoNews

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City council to soon discuss equipping Kamloops bylaw officers with weapons

April 29, 2016 - 4:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - Council could be debating the merits of giving Kamloops bylaw officers with batons, handcuffs and pepper spray by this summer.

Bylaw enforcement manager Jon Wilson says a review of defensive tools for bylaw officers is ongoing. It's expected council will discuss the proposal in two to three months.

If approved, Kamloops bylaw officers could be equipped with batons, pepperspray and handcuffs — equipment that has been the status quo in Kelowna for nearly 20 years.

“There are instances that having the safety equipment may ensure the safety of the officer,” Wilson says. He points out there are security guards in Kamloops with the same type of equipment.

There are 10 full-time bylaw officers and a crew leader that would receive the tools, he says, with bylaw management and some part-time officers potentially having them when out in the community. Parking enforcement officers would not be included.

There would be plenty of policy and training and review, Wilson says, with a review each time the batons, handcuffs or pepper spray are used. Additionally, he says it’s likely RCMP would investigate any incidents, partly because any incident where the equipment is used would be when the bylaw officer’s safety is at significant risk from another person.

“We’ve had at least a half a dozen assaults in the last nine months and other instances of violence towards staff,” he says.

Wilson says the city may be obliged to consider some sort of defensive equipment due to WorkSafeBC regulations that say employers must supply employees with proper safety equipment.

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