Alberta minister hopes report can improve how police react to mental health cases

Alberta's justice minister is hoping the province can improve how police handle people with mental health issues.

CALGARY — Alberta’s justice minister is hoping the province can improve how police handle people with mental health issues.

Pressure on law enforcement has increased after David McQueen, who was suffering from depression, was shot and killed by Calgary police on Sunday.

McQueen had been randomly firing shots out of his home, and one narrowly missed a Calgary Transit driver.

Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley answered questions about the incident following a presentation today at the Canadian Bar Association conference in Calgary.

She said the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police asked the province to look into the issue in March 2015 and a mental health advisory committee is preparing a report, which is expected in the coming weeks.

As for McQueen’s death, Ganley said she couldn’t comment on whether there will be a fatality inquiry.

“At this time, ASIRT is still investigating, so I think it would be premature to guess where the process is going before we have the outcome of that investigation,” she said.

She said it’s difficult to determine how many police shootings involve people with mental illness.

“Unfortunately it’s still an issue that many people are silent on, and many people struggle without seeking treatment, or without us knowing that they’re struggling,” she said.

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