Montreal

Quebec City police chief doesn't want officers to consume cannabis

The head of Quebec City's police department is asking his officers to make a moral commitment never to consume cannabis so they retain their "judgment capacity."

Chief Robert Pigeon says officers will be asked to abstain, but won't face discipline if they consume cannabis

Quebec City Police Chief Robert Pigeon says he doesn't want his officers using cannabis in the name of safety for themselves, their colleagues and the population. (Radio-Canada)

The head of Quebec City's police department is asking his officers to make a moral commitment never to consume cannabis so they retain their "judgment capacity."

"The first tool of a police officer is their judgment, their ability to make decisions in their environment in very ambiguous contexts, so I need officers who are healthy," said Quebec City Police Chief Robert Pigeon on Friday.

"I'd like for none of them to consume cannabis, including outside of work."

Pigeon recognizes that his police officers will have the right to consume cannabis legally as of Oct. 17, when they're not in uniform, just like any other citizen.

Pigeon said he is not against the legalization of cannabis, but, when it comes to his officers, he wants them to abstain. He says it's "a question of values."

The police chief does not intend to demand a written promise from his members and he is assuring them that they would face no disciplinary sanction were they to be caught consuming off duty.

"I want police officers who are safe for themselves, for their colleagues, for the public," he said. "I want officers who are healthy."

Quebec City officers are not being asked to stop consuming alcohol. Pigeon said that is because the effects of cannabis on the body, are not as well known as those of alcohol.

Canadian police services have varying policies

Many other police forces across the country are still working to decide how to handle the legalization of a substance that has long been illegal.

Montreal police is among several departments that has said it will allow officers to consume. Calgary, however, has decided officers are not allowed and, so far, it is the only police force to establish such a policy.

The Canadian military has said its members will be allowed to consume, but not within eight hours of a shift.

All Canadian police officers will receive online training through the Canadian Police Knowledge Network (CPKN) on the new federal legislation.

With files from Radio-Canada

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