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'Circumstances have changed': Calgary councillor Raj Dhaliwal stepping away from police commission

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Ward 5 councillor Raj Dhaliwal was set to sit on the police commission for one more year, but on Tuesday he made the decision to step away.

“I feel it’s time for me, to step out because circumstances have changed,” he said.

“Social disorder order has kind of taken a different magnitude and shape, especially in my ward but in the city, so it's time for me to take that advocacy out of commission, and let someone else come in.”

Dhaliwal’s one-year term ends on Oct. 31, and it's expected his replacement from council will be named next month.

He is set to attend one of, if not his last commission meeting on Wednesday afternoon, with questions for police chief Mark Neufeld about last week’s deadly daytime shooting, that injured an officer.

“It was very disturbing for me, and like I said, brazen, unsettling all those things and not acceptable,” said Dhaliwal.

Dhaliwal wanted answers to why police executed a “high-risk” arrest warrant in a Falconridge strip mall, during the middle of the day, which led to a shootout between two suspects and the tactical unit.

“Right after this happened, CPS chief and ELT reached out to me,” he said.

“We had a very candid conversation, I had some tough questions for them and those got answered.”

Dhaliwal says police victim services were door-knocking the following day explaining to residents and businesses why the incident occurred.

“Given the context, their anxiety, it has kind of mitigated in a way,” said Dhaliwal.

'THE POLICE HAD NO CHOICE': CRIMINOLOGIST

One Mount Royal University criminologist and associate professor in the Department of Economics, Justice and Policy Studies, says police were highly trained for this operation.

“The police were obviously aware of who they're dealing with and the risks of the public,” said Kelly Sundberg.

“In their operations plan, they would have considered every possible scenario.”

One suspect was shot dead, a second taken into custody and a police officer was shot, suffering serious injuries, but has since been released.

“Having individuals with handguns in the public, who are suspected of engaging in violent activity including firearms activity prior, the police had no choice,” said Sundberg.

Thanh Nguyen, 25, of Calgary was arrested at the scene of the shooting and was charged with one count each of attempted murder, discharging a firearm with intent, possession of stolen property over $5,000, unlawful possession of a firearm in a vehicle, unlawful possession of a restricted firearm with ammunition, possession of a weapon obtained by crime and possession of a restricted firearm contrary to a prohibition order.

Nguyen is scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

Police said the arrest on Wednesday was connected to a late September shooting.

On Saturday, Sept. 30, around 2:45 p.m., a driver phoned in a shooting between two vehicles on westbound Glenmore Trail near 37 Street S.W.

The Calgary Police Commission is meeting Wednesday, and police say it continues to see a decrease in the number of shootings.

In the first half of 2023, more than 200 crime guns were seized.

As of Oct. 16, not including the latest one, there had been 81 shootings in Calgary, a 28 percent decrease from last year.

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