Police officers will no longer face lengthy Special Investigation Unit (SIU) investigations when administrating naloxone or performing first aid during emergencies.
Previously, the Police Services Act required officers to report when they had administered naloxone to a person who didn’t survive to the SIU. “These investigations are long and are very stressful for officers,” said Rick Robson, executive director of the London Police Association.
The provincial government said the amendment will put police officers on par with other first responders, who can carry and administer naloxone but don’t face the same level of oversight.
“It’s a troubling experience to try and save a life and have your interaction be unsuccessful. My officers carry that every day of their lives. Then add being investigated for it,” added Robson.
Robson says the previous regulation should not have been in effect in the first place “there should’ve been some common sense from the get-go…The SIU should’ve recognized that this was a waste of resources.”
Naloxone is used to temporarily reverse opioid overdoses. The government has allowed Ontario police to carry naloxone kits in order to tackle what has been described as an opioid crisis.
Not having officers have to go through SIU investigations now has “lifted a huge weight off the shoulders of front-line officers,” said Robson.