Provincial court Judge Robert Heinrichs makes the recommendation following an inquest into the 2007 death of Wilfred Asham at police headquarters in Winnipeg.
Asham was arrested after stealing a truck and crashing it into a chain link fence.
After being taken to a holding room, Asham collapsed and police called an ambulance, but paramedics could not resuscitate him.
An autopsy showed Asham died of probable cardiac arrhythmia.
The inquest report says a defibrillator machine might have prevented the death.
The judge also recommends that all police forces develop a clear policy which sets out circumstances in which someone taken into police custody should first be cleared by a paramedic or emergency room personnel.
"I am not suggesting that if such a policy had been in place that morning, that it would have mandated a medical exam prior to the officers taking (Asham) to the police station," Heinrichs wrote.
"That is for the policy makers, in consultation with medical doctors, to decide. However, a clear policy, with guidelines for officers to follow, is called for."