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Premier vows at OPP officer’s funeral to ‘do whatever it takes’ to … –

At the funeral for a slain OPP officer on Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford promised to keep backing the blue.

“As premier — I’ve said this many times — I will always, always have your back,” he told police gathered at the funeral. “Every day, you put your life on the line to protect the people of Ontario. I’ll do whatever it takes to protect each and every one of you and the communities you serve.”

Twenty-eight-year-old Const. Greg Pierzchala, a former officer at Queen’s Park, was killed on Dec. 27 in what police have called an “ambush” attack after he responded to a call about a crashed vehicle.

Pierzchala is the fourth officer to be shot dead in Ontario since September. Ford said that was unacceptable.

“Sadly, the last four months, we’ve buried too many heroes,” said the premier, as his eyes welled up with tears. “These men were heroes in life, and we will always remember them that way.”

Ford’s promise comes after Toronto Mayor John Tory proposed a $48.3-million increase to the Toronto police budget. Tory is a former Progressive Conservative Party leader and a political ally of the premier.

“Today is a painful reminder that policing is a family’s calling,” said Ford, whose eldest daughter, Krista, is married to a former Toronto police officer.

Pierzchala was killed the same day he learned he had passed his 10-month probationary period.

“It’s cruel beyond words,” Ford said.

OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique demanded changes to Ontario’s bail system after the killing. He noted that the man accused of the crime was out on bail on charges that included assaulting a cop.

Carrique said he was “outraged” at a news conference on Dec. 30. “I know that there is a lot of interest in ensuring that, to see that changes are made, where possible, so that people charged with violent offences that are firearms-related are not in that position moving forward.”

Ford has called for similar changes, calling the federal government “weak” on crime.

This is beyond comprehension. It’s completely unacceptable that the person charged for this heinous crime is now out on bail. Our justice system needs to get its act together and start putting victims and their families ahead of criminals.

— Doug Ford (@fordnation) September 22, 2021

The bail system is the responsibility of the federal government, falling under the Criminal Code.

Thousands of police officers gathered from across the country in Barrie, Ont., where the funeral was held. The livestream was viewed by thousands more on major news networks and online.

Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Solicitor General Michael Kerzner, members of Pierzchala’s family and others spoke at the funeral.