A new police program in Victoria, B.C. that is hoping to improve the safety of wellness checks is getting the approval of Martha Martin.
Martin’s daughter Chantel Moore was shot and killed on June 4, 2020, by an Edmundston, N.B. police officer during one of those checks.
For the past three years, Martin has fought for changes in how police conduct them.
“I hope this has a ripple effect going out towards the country because it’s badly needed,” she told APTN News.
The program pairs a health practitioner with a police officer to respond to certain types of calls.
According to the Victoria police, officers will have specialized training to support people through “client-centered” and trauma-informed methods.
“Mental health calls where people are either in mental health crisis or they are having a mental health episode and they need intervention, is not criminal in any nature, lets us admit that they’re not criminal these are health issues,” said police chief Del Manak.
Moore’s death led to rallies being held across the country for police forces to change their ways.
Martin said she’s now ready to heal.
“We’re going in the right direction,” she said. “It’s a start towards mending these bridges between policing. I know there’s a lot of mistrust when it comes with policing and I might stand alone on this but you know what if I don’t, I can’t come out of a place of hatred in order to heal.”
Marak said he was inspired by Martin’s courage and committed to making the change including money for police body cameras.
“Doing the right thing and bringing the co-response team to Vic PD because I knew I had Martha at my side and I could update her,” he said. “I wanted to have a positive, some sort of positive thing that came out of the situation with what happened to Chantel.”
APTN News asked the Edmundston police was considering a similar program. According to a spokesperson, police already work with the province’s mobile crisis units.