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Death of Maureen Breau: police training under the microscope again | Tragedy de Louiseville: the death of Maureen Breau

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Training designed in particular by a sergeant from the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) could have allowed the police to intervene differently on the evening of the tragedy. (Archive photo)


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Innovative training could have made it possible the police to intervene differently on the evening of March 27, 2023 to arrest Isaac Brouillard Lessard more appropriately depending on his condition. This is what we learned on the 14th day of the hearings of the public inquiry of coroner Géhane Kamel at the Trois-Rivières courthouse into the death of Sergeant Maureen Breau.

The training offered to police officers to tackle cases like that of Isaac Brouillard Lessard was at the heart of the discussions on Friday.

Sergeant Dominique Éthier, of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), is one of the designers of the Response to a Disturbed Mental Health (REMP) training. He said Friday that this training caused a culture shock in police stations because it offers a different approach from that which had been taught to police officers.

Designed from the recommendations of various coroner's reports, it was finally offered in small quantities.

Louiseville tragedy: the death of Maureen Breau

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Louiseville tragedy: the death of Maureen Breau

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Dominique Éthier became emotional during his testimony when he indicated that this training might have made it possible to change the situation on the evening of March 27, 2023.

According to the president of the Association of Provincial Police Officers of Quebec (APPQ), Jacques Painchaud, this approach can give rise to practices more adapted to certain situations, but it requires more intervention time.

We have been for this training from the beginning […]. It's not just citizen security, it's security for our police officers, he says.

If we can de-escalate which will lead to a safer intervention, it is important. Obviously, when we are faced with a situation with imminent danger or an urgency to act, there is no room for that, unfortunately.

That said, people will have to understand that it takes time, and while we're on this, we're not elsewhere.

A quote from Jacques Painchaud, president of the Association of Provincial Police Officers of Quebec

Since the death of Maureen Breau, the pace of training has accelerated, so that by December 2025, the vast majority of SQ police officers will have received REMP training.

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The president of the Association of Quebec Provincial Police Officers, Jacques Painchaud (Archive photo)

The person responsible for planning training at the SQ, Marie Pintal, also drew up a portrait of the situation before the coroner, indicating that there is an increase in the number of mandatory training for special events.

Police training was also at the center of the conclusions of the Commission's investigation standards, equity, health and safety at work (CNESST).

The coroner's hearings will end next week with the recommendations section and the lawyers' observations.

With information from Julie Grenon

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