Mar 31 2011
TORONTO - Ontario's ombudsman says he's investigating how the Ontario Provincial Police deal with operational stress injuries.
The term OSI is used to describe any persistent psychological difficulty that police personnel experience as a result of operational duties.
The psychological problems can include depression, anxiety, addictions and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Andre Marin says he's received more than 30 complaints from active and retired provincial police officers.
Marin says those officers raised concerns about a lack of understanding and awareness of OSI and alleged that sufferers are often ostracized and stigmatized.
Provincial police officials say the force will actively participate in Marin's investigation.
"I welcome this opportunity of independent review and look forward to the outcome and recommendations of the investigation," Commissioner Chris Lewis said Thursday in a release.
Marin said current and former officers have said that the attitude towards members with these conditions tends to be, "Suck it up and get on with your life."
"After careful consideration, I have determined that a systemic investigation is needed to examine not only the services and support provided to these officers, but the culture within the OPP towards operational stress injuries," Marin said.
The ombudsman added that his office had also received similar complaints from municipal police officers and their family members.
Marin said he'll investigate the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services' administrative processes relating to OSI in police services across Ontario.
"While we do not have jurisdiction over these police services, we will be investigating what, if anything, the ministry is doing about this issue for police officers across the province."