Winnipeg mayoral candidate Don Woodstock wants plainclothes police officers on city buses

Winnipeg mayoral candidate Don Woodstock says if elected, he will put plainclothes police officers on transit busses to increase safety.

Kevin Klein launches campaign for mayor pledging more green spaces, transparency and a safer city

Winnipeg mayoral candidate Don Woodstock pledges to make transit safety a number one priority if elected mayor. (Bert Savard/CBC)

Winnipeg mayoral candidate Don Woodstock says if elected, he would like to replace transit supervisors with police officers.

The campaign promise to beef up security on transit buses is partly inspired by Woodstock's almost-10-year career as a bus driver himself, and recent assaults on drivers. 

His announcement comes one day before a rally hosted by the transit union in support of safer conditions for drivers.

An initiative he is calling Operation Safe Ride would result in 10 transit supervisors replaced with plainclothes police officers.

"We do not need to wait on a mother, a father, or a son to be killed or maimed to jump into action. We are looking at prevention," Woodstock told the media on Wednesday.

Transit supervisors cannot arrest or intervene if a passenger is violent or aggressive; they can only contain the situation and call 911.

The mayoral hopeful says the general public will feel safer knowing that there might be a plainclothes officer on the bus with them, which would also keep passengers from misbehaving.

Woodstock doesn't believe that having officers on buses would result in incidents escalating.

"If they feel that a plainclothes officer will make it escalate … I beg to differ, as a driver in the seat for nine years," he said.

In his experience, he says "the whole mood changes" when transit drivers call police for help.

While Woodstock vows to make transit safety a priority if elected, a mayor cannot direct police operations.

Kevin Klein makes his pitch at campaign launch

Mayoral candidate Kevin Klein speaks at a podium in Assiniboine Park, with two male supporters standing behind him.
Winnipeg mayoral candidate Kevin Klein speaks at his campaign launch event in Assiniboine Park Wednesday. (Bert Savard/CBC)

Winnipeg's newest mayoral candidate Kevin Klein held his official campaign launch at Assiniboine Park on Wednesday afternoon.

The Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood councillor promised more green spaces, a safer city, and more transparency to city hall.

Former Winnipeg police public information officer Rob Carver spoke at the campaign launch, where Klein said he would support a public inquiry into the police headquarters scandal — something he previously expressed opposition to.

Klein is the second city councillor to enter the mayoral race, leaving two open council seats; one in Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood, and Scott Gillingham's seat in St. James.

Winnipeggers head to the polls Oct. 26.

More from CBC on the Winnipeg election

With files from Sam Samson