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Winnipeg

Transit safety officers elbowed, kicked, almost bitten

Just three weeks into the job, two members of the new transit security team have been assaulted.

Winnipeg police said a man was behaving erratically on a bus around Graham Avenue and Main Street on Monday afternoon. Const. Claude Chancy said the bus driver flagged down some of the new community safety officers for help.

“In regards to a male who was on the bus, kicking, screaming, and yelling, and at one point actually damaged a window on the bus as well,” said Chancy.

All the passengers exited the bus Chancy said, and the safety officers were able to speak to the individual and get him off as well. But that’s when things escalated, as the man walked into traffic and the officers followed him.

“One of the safety officers was elbowed in the face, the other was kicked, and also there was an attempt to bite one of the safety officers as well.”

They were able to detain the man until police arrived.

Amalgamated Transit Union President Chris Scott said despite the assault, this incident shows the program is keeping drivers and passengers out of harm’s way.

“This is exactly what we asked for, this program to be implemented…so that we don’t have a bus careening down the street uncontrolled because an operator was assaulted,” said Scott.

Mayor Scott Gillingham campaigned to get the transit security team on board.

“It’s very unfortunate that community safety officers were assaulted, but this shows that the program is working,” said Gillingham.

Not everyone is happy with the new additions. The Winnipeg Police Association has filed a grievance, alleging the officers are performing contracted police duties. That grievance process is ongoing.

“Our primary concern is that whatever that decision will be, that it will not impact the vital service that this new community safety team is providing,” said Scott.

Both of the officers were injured in the incident, but they were considered minor and no one needed medical care. 

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