Police chief takes jury inquest recommendations 'very seriously'
Published Friday, August 23, 2019 11:05AM CST
Last Updated Friday, August 23, 2019 11:06AM CST
Saskatoon Police Chief Troy Cooper said he is reviewing the jury’s recommendations made Thursday at the inquest into the death of a man who died in a police chase.
Austin Eaglechief, 22, died after the stolen truck he was driving crashed with another vehicle on June 17, 2019. Minutes before his death, officers tried to take down the vehicle – but it was unsuccessful.
All four of the jury’s recommendations were directed to police. Jurors suggested police get access to better equipment to make fast-moving, high-risk vehicle takedowns more effective.
"We’ll take some time to review them to be able to analyze what the jury recommended and be able to respond to the coroner," Cooper told CTV News hours after jury announced its recommendations.
"Of course we take all the jury recommendations very seriously and we’ll consider them in some detail."
Comes down to money: Eaglechief family lawyer
One of the jury’s four recommendations suggested police vehicle bumpers be equipped with push-bars.
Only eight of the 159 police vehicles have push-bars, according to police. It costs $1,200 to purchase and install a push-bar on a police cruiser.
"I believe it comes down to how willing the Saskatoon Police Service is to spending the money to implement those recommendations. Like anything, it comes down to finances," Eleanore Sunchild, the lawyer representing the Eaglechief family, told reporters.
Inquest recommendations are not mandatory.
"That could be one thing that could be improved … is to have a process that implements mandatory recommendations," Sunchild said.