'Getting out and connecting': New police chief sets out on his mission
Calgary's new Chief of Police Mark Neufeld, just two weeks on the job, spoke with CTV News on Friday and laid out his plan for tackling some of the city's biggest issues.
Neufeld addressed bullying at the Calgary Police Service, the morale problem on the force and some of the major crime issues.
"The big things for us that have come up would be violence in some of the districts," he says. "There's been some shootings and there's been some murders. Obviously, that's gotta be number one."
He also says there can never be too much attention placed on some more of the hidden issues like domestic violence.
"Where we are in the economy, we know that this is something that's going on. Our numbers reflect that, and we know, when we talk to our partners, their experiences reflect that as well."
The city's safe consumption site at the Sheldon Chumir Centre is also on Neufeld's radar, especially because of recent complaints from the public about safety in its vicinity.
The solution could have been opening new sites in different locations, but after Premier Kenney made a decision to freeze funding, a different strategy needs to be taken.
Neufeld says they've seen some of the collateral issues in the surrounding communities but recognizes the safe consumption site saves lives.
"We have increased our presence there and while it's too early to celebrate, I think there's been some improvement in the situation down there for residents."
He adds that there needs to a harder look at some of the other ways to get people who are addicted to drugs off the cycle and into treatment.
Neufeld says he also wants to make sure that Calgarians know that police are there for them in any situation.
"Time and again when you talk to communities about what they want from police; they want to be engaged, they want police to be visible, but they don't want us to be visible in the sense of seeing police cars drive by, they actually want to engage with us. I think our officers too, want to engage with the community."