Toronto police chief urges officers to take 'necessary precautions' after 'shocking' Dallas shootings
5 Dallas officers are dead, others wounded after ‘ambush-style' attack in Texas on Thursday night
Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders sent an email to the force Friday morning to express concern about the deadly shootings in Dallas that left five officers dead, and he reminded members of his force to ensure their own safety on the job.
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Saunders's email expressed his sympathies to the families of the officers who were killed and wounded in Thursday night's ambush-style attack. In addition to the five Dallas officers who were killed, seven officers and two civilians were wounded.
Gunmen opened fire on officers in Dallas during a protest over two recent fatal police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. Three suspects were taken into custody, while a fourth died following a standoff with police.
In his email, Saunders urged officers "to take all necessary precautions" to protect their own safety. Saunders also told his officers that he will provide them with the tools they need to keep themselves safe on the job.
"The safety of the men and women of the Toronto Police Service, who serve and protect this city, day and night, is enormously important to me," Saunders wrote. "I will always make sure you have the best, and safest, equipment, and the intelligence and training to provide you with the greatest protection."
Saunders's concern isn't baseless, according to former Toronto police officer and security expert Ross McLean.
"I don't find it any different here at all in Canada," McLean said. "We've had RCMP officers shot, we've had rising issues of violence here as well, we're seeing an increase in gun crime ... We're seeing the rhetoric that's anti-police, hating police."
"The problem is here and it's here for Canadian police as well," he added.
Saunders hailed the "professionalism and courage of those who work in all the communities of this city, reaching out to those who are vulnerable, building relationships with marginalized communities, and helping communities become more resilient.
"I am constantly reminded, by community members I speak with, how much they appreciate what you do for them."
Saunders was not available for comment on Friday. He did, however, tweet a message of condolence to the families of the Dallas officers. Other police forces and unions also tweeted messages of support and sympathy.
Our most heartfelt sympathes, thoughts and prayers to <a href="https://twitter.com/DallasPD">@DallasPD</a> and their families. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Dallas?src=hash">#Dallas</a>—@marksaunderstps
When asked if the TPS has a specific strategy for ensuring officers' safety following the events in Dallas, spokesman Mark Pugash told CBC News the force is constantly monitoring safety threats, working with national and international law-enforcement agencies.
The details of that work are not discussed publicly, Pugash said.