Calgary police shot 10 people in 2016, more than any other Canadian city

With 10 officer-involved shootings — including five fatalities — so far this year, Calgary police lead the country in shooting civilians in the line of duty. Toronto, with double Calgary's population, has seen six.

Toronto, with double the population, has the next highest number with 6

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, which looks into officer-involved shootings, is investigating an incident in Dover earlier this month. (CBC)

This story was updated on Nov. 29 to reflect the police shooting in Sunalta, which left a woman dead.

Calgary police officers have shot and either killed or injured more civilians than officers in any other Canadian city in 2016, according to statistics gathered by CBC News.

Here's a breakdown of officer-involved shootings in various Canadian cities:

  • Calgary - 10 (5 fatal)
  • Toronto - 6 (3 fatal)
  • Vancouver - 2 (1 fatal)
  • Ottawa - 0
  • Edmonton - 0
  • Winnipeg - 0
  • Regina - 0
  • Halifax - 0

With 10 officer-involved shootings — including five fatalities — so far this year, Calgary police say they are reviewing their policies and training.

"I'm very pleased they are going to be looking at it to see if there are things that could be done differently or could be done better," said Susan Hughson, executive director of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT).

Toronto — which has more than double Calgary's population — has seen the next highest number of officer-involved shootings, with six total. Three of those involved injuries and three were fatalities.

Montreal police could not say how many officer-involved shootings have taken place in the city this year because they do "not keep statistics on shootings."

A search of news stories from that city shows three Montreal police officers shot citizens in 2016, one fatally.

The lawyer for a Calgary man who was blinded after he was shot by police says the number of police shootings in Calgary this year is troubling.

"It's certainly a very concerning statistic and one that hopefully causes the Calgary Police Service to look critically with the culture of their organization to figure out why this is the case," said Andrea Urquhart.

'This isn't a training issue'

But a criminologist from Mount Royal University is defending Calgary officers.

"A lot of people are saying, 'It's a culture of Calgary Police Service — shooting first, asking questions second,'" said Doug King.

"There's no evidence of that. My hunch is this isn't a training issue ... police officers in Calgary are being confronted with more incredibly dangerous situations," he said. 

Police attributed some of this year's shootings to an increase in vehicle thefts and the city's opioid crisis.

"It's a question we talk about almost daily," said Supt. James Hardy. "We're looking at doing different training so there's a whole number of pieces in play here."

Four of Calgary's shootings in 2016 were related to stolen vehicles.

Hughson says even when an officer does not face criminal charges following a shooting, that doesn't mean that it was the best way to deal with the situation.

"There's a difference between an unlawful act and one that could have been done better."