Statement from Chief Fitch - Mental Health Training

Please find below the complete statement issued by Chief Leanne Fitch to a local news agency, upon their request. The request was in regard to a call for service earlier this year, and mental health training for members.

We can confirm that a Police Act complaint was received, investigated and has been concluded. Given the private nature of such files, we are not permitted to speak about the Police Act investigation as it is related to the complainant.

Each call for service is unique, and officers respond based on the information available and make decisions in the best interest of public and officer safety.

The Police Commission has concurred with our findings related to this matter.

The Fredericton Police Force (FPF) is one of the first agencies in Canada to have delivered Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) Training to all of its sworn police, managers and civilian members. It is also part of new officer orientation. This is a program developed in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association. Members have also completed the Canadian Police Knowledge Network (CPKN) Suicide Prevention for First Responders course.

In addition, all members have received enhanced mandatory training on dealing with Emotionally Disturbed Persons (EDPs), including education on mental health disorders, available services, and intervention techniques. Police interventions that involved people with mental health and emotional disorders is an issue being grappled with nationwide, and as a result, training opportunities will continue to be made available. FPF has created and implemented a new policy to address dealing with EDPs and managing communications and accusations from EDPs.

The Fredericton Police Force has also built a strong working relationship and developed policy to include a partnership with the Mobile Mental Health Crisis Unit (MMHCU). These certified professionals are available to attend calls for service with the police, but unfortunately are not available 24/7.

There are also a number of individual training opportunities we engage in when necessary. For 2017, we have flagged De-escalation Technique Advance Training in the budget for all members.

Also important to us is ensuring our members get the support they need for dealing with difficult calls related to mental wellness.