Councillor calls for Winnipeg police to reopen district stations to the public 24-7

Winnipeg city council is set to consider a call for police to reopen district stations that have been closed to the public since the start of the pandemic.

Three of four district stations closed to public since start of the pandemic

Night shot of west district police station.
The Winnipeg Police Service's west district station is one of three stations that have remained closed to the public since the start of the pandemic. Coun. Russ Wyatt wants them reopened to better serve the public. (Justin Fraser/CBC)

Winnipeg city council is set to consider a call for police to reopen district stations that have been closed to the public since the start of the pandemic.

Coun. Russ Wyatt (Transcona) brought forward the motion, which calls for all four of the city's district police stations to be open to walk-ins 24-7. Wyatt argues the pandemic is over, and reopening the stations will make the police more accessible to the community.

"We spent tens of millions of dollars of public money to build the four-district station station system, and the public was told at the time when we were creating these stations that they would be accessible to the public," Wyatt said in an interview.

The current stations, approved in 2003, reduced the number of district stations to four from six. 

At the start of the pandemic, the police service closed the north, east and west district stations to the public, leaving only the downtown headquarters as a place where members of the community can go to report crime.

Wyatt's motion would make all four stations open to the public around the clock.

Any decisions about increasing the police budget to cover the costs of staffing the district stations would need to be made by the police board and council, Wyatt said.

Given the commitments the city made when it built the stations, Wyatt said he believes the Winnipeg Police Board has the authority to direct the police to reopen them.

The chair of the police board disagrees.

"Neither council nor the police board can direct the operations of the police," said Coun. Markus Chambers (St. Norbert-Seine River).

Given concerns about rising crime in the city, particularly downtown, Chambers said the police service made the operational decision to deploy their officers elsewhere.

"It felt that officers' time is much more valuable out on the street and actually responding to crime than sitting in an office taking taking information from off the street," Chambers said in an interview.

Notice on door says, "CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC."
A notice on the door of the west district station advises the public that the only place in the city where crimes can be reported in-person is the downtown police headquarters. (Justin Fraser/CBC)

Chambers noted people can still report crime at the downtown headquarters.

A spokesperson for the police said it "is in the process of reviewing station duty operations." No further comment would be provided at this time, the spokesperson said.

The motion will be discussed by council at its meeting on Feb. 23.


Cameron MacLean is a journalist for CBC Manitoba living in Winnipeg, where he was born and raised. He has more than a decade of experience reporting in the city and across Manitoba, covering a wide range of topics, including courts, politics, housing, arts, health and breaking news. Email story tips to


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