Police Officers Deserve Same Legal Representation as All Citizens

MISSISSAUGA, ON, May 12 /CNW/ - The Police Association of Ontario (PAO) is asking for standing in an application currently before the courts. The application calls for a review of legal representation for police officers being investigated by the S.I.U. (Special Investigations Unit).

The PAO says current legislation recognizes that appropriate and reasonable support and counsel should be provided to police officers involved in violent and threatening situations which have resulted in bodily injury or death. The PAO says such incidents are traumatic for all involved including police officers.

"Realistically, anyone who has faced such an ordeal would need assistance and is entitled to assistance, and the legislation recognizes that and provides for that," says PAO President Larry Molyneaux. "While police officers have chosen to enter a job to protect the public and keep the peace, which inherently can be dangerous, the fact is that tragic situations where someone is hurt or dies, don't often happen. They are thankfully extraordinary circumstances. The legislation recognizes the need for appropriate and reasonable counsel and support for officers who are under investigation. It is something all citizens expect."

The PAO is the one body that can provide a thorough and critical perspective as the PAO represents police officers working in all corners of the province, in the full range of urban, rural, and small town environments, through its 59 member associations. The PAO backs the Ontario Provincial Police Association's efforts to support their members' rights.

"We acknowledge and respect the role of the SIU, and we would like to be sure that the SIU has all the resources necessary to execute an efficient and effective investigation. Having said that, police officers deserve the same support as all citizens. Our officers have the right to legal representation, and that support is particularly crucial for them during these extraordinary and traumatic circumstances," said Molyneaux.

The PAO was founded in 1933 and is the official voice and representative body for Ontario's front line police personnel. Its membership consists of over 33,000 police and civilian members from every municipal police association and the Ontario Provincial Police Association. The PAO has historically been actively involved in discussing issues surrounding civilian oversight of police services by the SIU, and has participated fully at every opportunity during past reviews and legislative changes pertaining to the SIU. The PAO promotes the mutual interests of Ontario's police personnel in order to uphold the honour of the police profession and elevate the standards of police services.

SOURCE Police Association of Ontario

For further information: For further information: Larry Molyneaux, President of the Police Association of Ontario, Phone: (905) 670-9770 or pao@pao.ca, www.policeassociationofontario.com

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