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Active Shooter In NS. April 19 2020

Humphrey Bogart

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Brihard said:
You’re badly off the mark on a lot of this... I’ll be back to this later, but yeah. Might be time to check fire. You have failed to validate some of your assumptions or to properly situation some of the things here in the time and space of the larger incident.

Then please good Sir, enlighten me. I would honestly be interested in hearing your take on this as the numbers don't make sense to me.  How are you supposed to provide adequate coverage of an area as large as Canada with the resources you have?
 
I don't blame the frontline officers at all for this, people are obviously doing the best they can with the tools at their disposal but I don't think it's wrong to point out the obvious lack of assets the Federal Police Force has at their disposal.

Obviously they can access OGD assets but those assets are not theirs and take time to mobilize.  If anything, I think it's perfectly reasonable to examine some of this and ask is our Government properly resourcing our Federal Police Force?

My gripe isn't with the RCMP, it's with the Feds not providing you and others with adequate tools to do your job.  I'm not critiquing the RCMP and sorry you took it that way.  Rather, I want your force to be better equipped so you improve response times.
 

brihard

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Humphrey Bogart said:
Then please good Sir, enlighten me. I would honestly be interested in hearing your take on this as the numbers don't make sense to me.

Yup, sorry, just gotta play ‘essential’ for a few more hours before I clear out of work. Hopefully I’ll get back to you this evening.
 

blacktriangle

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Something federal and uniformed under-resourced? Say it isn't so...

I briefly dated an RCMP officer when I was younger. Obviously anecdotal at best, but some of the things she told me didn't exactly inspire confidence. In a way I'm glad it didn't work out...I'd be worried sick about her.
 

Good2Golf

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HB, not ever going to happen to the extent you are envisioning.  Even back when SERT had dedicated aviation, it was for a specific national interest task.  The Divisional ERTs (not including A Div / NHQ Div) would call upon the closest Tac Hel Sqn for airborne support.  I know of only one case where SERT’s aviation detachment supported a regional Division ERT for a specific event in Quebec.  Such specialized (inter-Departmental) aviation support stopped in 1993 because of the significant costs associated with the role and the rate of usage.  The budgeting has become only more restrictive in the 27 years that have unfolded since that special dedicated aviation ceased.

:2c:

G2G
 

Humphrey Bogart

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Good2Golf said:
HB, not ever going to happen to the extent you are envisioning.  Even back when SERT had dedicated aviation, it was for a specific national interest task.  The Divisional ERTs (not including A Div / NHQ Div) would call upon the closest Tac Hel Sqn for airborne support.  I know of only one case where SERT’s aviation detachment supported a regional Division ERT for a specific event in Quebec.  Such specialized (inter-Departmental) aviation support stopped in 1993 because of the significant costs associated with the role and the rate of usage.  The budgeting has become only more restrictive in the 27 years that have unfolded since that special dedicated aviation ceased.

:2c:

G2G

G2G, thanks for the additional insight in to this, which is exactly why I brought this up.  It's a common theme at the Federal level that the further we advance in time, the more capability respective Federal Departments seem to atrophy at an alarming rate.  It should be the opposite with advances in technology but that isn't the trend in any Federal Service, police, military, coast guard, etc.

I found it embarrassing that the RCMP was forced to contract civilian helicopter services when they conducted the manhunt last year in Northern Manitoba.  Yes, they could request CAF and OGD assistance but there is a political and cultural aversion in Canada to the Military being used domestically which slows decision-making down and in cases like this, time is of the essence.

If the Federal Government wants to improve response times to extreme acts of terror and criminality in Rural Canada, I think we need to begin employing some unique (For Canada that is) tactics and practices so that the proper assets are brought to bear to achieve the results we want.

It's easy to say we couldn't have done anything differently but you only have to look at the two examples I provided above to realize we might just be CHEAP and not resourced or structured properly.  As I said, the Bundespolizei have 84 helicopters, for a Country that is geographically half the size of Alberta.

People will crap all over the RCMP for this, an inquiry will occur, recommendations will be made and passed to Parliament..... then it will be time to open the cheque book and we will quietly shovel it to the National Archive.
 

Good2Golf

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Humphrey Bogart said:
...I found it embarrassing that the RCMP was forced to contract civilian helicopter services when they conducted the manhunt last year in Northern Manitoba.  Yes, they could request CAF and OGD assistance but there is a political and cultural aversion in Canada to the Military being used domestically which slows decision-making down and in cases like this, time is of the essence....

Perhaps to some degree, aversion, yes, but time-and-space may also play a role, although for example each Tac Hel Sqn has an aircraft and crew on standby for certain mission support purposes.

I can't refer to the specific process taken in the following request, but it happened very quickly, thankfully with a positive outcome for the victim.

RCMP say Canadian Armed Forces helped rescue girl held against will in northern Sask. cabin.  The help was a CH-146 Griffon from 408 Squadron in Edmonton.

Regards
G2G
 

SeaKingTacco

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Please also keep in mind policing in Canada is a provincial, not federal responsibility.

8/10 provinces contract their policing from the RCMP. But, there are really two sides to the RCMP: Federal and the provincial side that works for 8 different solicitor generals. I am pretty sure that each province would have to agree to the O&M costs for any RCMP air asset dedicated to that province. Good luck with that.
 

mariomike

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Humphrey Bogart said:
As I said, the Bundespolizei have 84 helicopters, for a Country that is geographically half the size of Alberta.

I'm not a police expert. But, perhaps also worth mentioning, Germany has a population density of 232 persons per square km.

Canada has 4 people per square Km. Probably a lot less than that if Ontario and Quebec are removed from the equation.

Not sure if that makes any difference in policing by helicopter. Merely presented for consideration to the discussion.

Someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe German police are responsible for coastal SAR. Not the military.

2019

German Federal Police plans helicopter fleet renewal

... the Super Puma family's 1,000th delivery – an acquisition driven by the transfer of responsibility for coastal search and rescue missions from the country's military."
https://www.flightglobal.com/helicopters/german-federal-police-plans-helicopter-fleet-renewal/134230.article


 

Humphrey Bogart

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SeaKingTacco said:
Please also keep in mind policing in Canada is a provincial, not federal responsibility.

8/10 provinces contract their policing from the RCMP. But, there are really two sides to the RCMP: Federal and the provincial side that works for 8 different solicitor generals. I am pretty sure that each province would have to agree to the O&M costs for any RCMP air asset dedicated to that province. Good luck with that.

Which is yet another structural issue of the RCMP and the entire Policing Portfolio writ large.  The Regional Command & Divisional System probably briefs well on a power point in Ottawa.  Assets are not shared equally though. 

I find it interesting that 1/3 of all RCMP Aviation Assets are based in BC.  It makes some sense given the size of BC Division and some of their mandates but I think their is a lack of resources for the Force Nationally.

mariomike said:
I'm not a police expert. But, perhaps also worth mentioning, Germany has a population density of 232 persons per square km.

Canada has 4 people per square Km. Probably a lot less than that if Ontario and Quebec are removed from the equation.

Not sure if that makes any difference in policing by helicopter. Merely presented for consideration to the discussion.

All the more reason to have more rapid reaction assets at the disposal of Police in this Country.  I'm left to shake my head when I see headlines like this:

Nunavut MLA wondering why RCMP is moving its emergency response team out of territory
Kent Driscoll
Jun 16, 2017
An MLA in Nunavut has been asking a lot of questions about why the RCMP has moved its emergency response team 2,000 km from Iqaluit to Montréal to the south.

https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/nunavut-mla-wondering-why-rcmp-is-moving-its-emergency-response-team-out-of-territory/

I've spent some time with the RCMP up in NU.  Four Officers in a village of 2,000 people, some of whom don't like the police very much at all.  Bullet holes in their vehicles, houses and the detachment which was built at the bottom of a big hill (great position for plunging fire btw with some good bug out routes to boot). 

It's funny because a little over 10 years ago, this is what was being planned:

Nunavut RCMP set up tactical emergency team

CBC News · Posted: Aug 26, 2009 8:54 AM CT | Last Updated: August 26, 2009

The RCMP in Nunavut are creating a tactical emergency containment team that will respond to dangerous situations beyond the scope of what local police officers can do alone.

Fourteen Nunavut officers will be tasked with controlling emergency situations, such as armed standoffs and hostage-takings, in their initial hours until a high-level RCMP emergency response team can be flown in from Ottawa.

The emergency containment team in Nunavut will be the first of its kind in Canada, said Supt. Steve McVarnock, the RCMP's commanding officer in the territory.

"We're the first in the country that are going to get it," McVarnock said Tuesday.

"They'll learn a lot from this experience up here so they can fine tune it for other divisions, but other divisions are moving in the same direction." 

The RCMP's high-level emergency response team has been sent to Nunavut before to assist with emergencies, but it can take up to 12 hours for the squad to be flown up from Ottawa.

McVarnock said that's why the police force is setting up a Nunavut-based intermediate group, which can contain dangerous situations while the high-level team is on its way.

The 14 officers selected for the containment team will begin a a 10-day course on Sept. 7, with experts coming up from Ottawa to train them. After the course is finished, the team will train two days a month, McVarnock said.

"Half of the team that are going to be trained are Iqaluit members, but the other half are going to be from outlying areas in some of our larger communities, like Cambridge Bay, Kugluktuk, Baker Lake," he said.

"So if something breaks over there, we have a small group of people already trained that can at least get the logistics set up while we bring in the rest of the containment from Iqaluit on the police plane. So at least we have some expertise spread out throughout the division."

McVarnock said the Nunavut emergency containment team plans to work as much as possible with Nunavummiut and with Inuit RCMP members who are trained in immediate crisis negotiations.

He added that he hopes to have a fully trained high-level emergency response team based in the territory someday.

About 99 per cent of emergency police situations are resolved through negotiations, he said.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/nunavut-rcmp-set-up-tactical-emergency-team-1.788293

Fits with the theme of capability atrophy at the Federal level. 
 

mariomike

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Humphrey Bogart said:
All the more reason to have more rapid reaction assets at the disposal of Police in this Country. 

Taxpayers want fast response times. They get what they pay for.

That also ties in with our not infrequent Urban / Rural divide discussions.

Germany has a population of over 83 million to pay for their emergency services. Canada has 37 million. Considerably less than that, if Ontario and Quebec are removed from the equation.

Not to mention the municipal police services that must also be funded in the remaining provinces where the RCMP operates.

Humphrey Bogart said:
Four Officers in a village of 2,000 people,

What is the typical ratio?

Police resources in Canada, 2018

This represents a rate of police strength of 185 officers per 100,000 population
https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2019001/article/00015-eng.htm



 

Humphrey Bogart

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mariomike said:
What is the typical ratio?

This isn't like going to Gananoque, ON.  The shit that goes on there is more akin to something you would see in Haiti or Central America. 
 

mariomike

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Humphrey Bogart said:
The shit that goes on there is more akin to something you would see in Haiti or Central America.

I don't doubt it.

In our town, the police deploy heavily into certain areas, because "That is where the crime is." 

Taxpayers in quieter areas of town complain they are paying for protection that was going elsewhere.
 

brihard

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OK, got a bit of time now.

First, on the Nova Scotia shooting particularly- and I won't be saying everything I want to say here, not by a long sot, but I can point out some geenral facts and observations that are plainly discernable from what's already out there, or that aren't particularly sensitive.

The event unfolded over a span of twelve + hours. Critical Incident Command was activated early, as was ERT. When the shooter was finally stopped, that wasn't the first ERT was involved. They'd been at it all night. The final confrontation wasn't a matter of the ERT truck finally happened to be making their merry little way from Halifax, and the truck had been parked with an eight of a tank of gas. An ERT guy and another member were on their own task and had been at it for a while probably bouncing around a lot as different info came in. It very much WAS pure happenstance that they ended up gassing up at the same time and place as the suspect, and it went down fast from there.

I have an exceptionally foul opinion of the characterization of Heidi in one of the 'articles' posted farther up thread. Yes, she had previously been at the Music Ride. Yes, she had done public relations work too. She also had done plenty of work as a cop on the road. At the time of her death she was working out of Enfield detachment. Before Enfield she was posted to Cole Harbour, hardly a sleepy and peaceful detachment. One of my good friends actually replaced here there. Heidi went down fighting. I'm not sure why the author thinks that an aluminum push bar mounted to a unibody chassis would have somehow given the other guy a huge advantage. By that point he had shot another member nearby (Chad Morrison), that member went over the air to report it, and Heidi moved to the threat on her own to try to stop him. Unfortunately he won that particular fight. ERT was on scene very quickly after that, and RCMP had a member overhead in an EMS helicopter -that's publicly known from the EMS radio that's open to the public.

I've seen some talk about why didn't RCMP call other police services like Truro to help? Well, they did. They helped by covering other calls not related to the shooting. That freed up Mounties to work the major file. Not least among the reasons why,t he police services do not all use compatible radios. Nova Scotia RCMP went to encrypted digital radios pretty recently. Truro police couldn't talk to them on the operational channel. HUGE liability in a major incident. You need everyone to be able to be on the same net. So we can put that one to bed. But other services did contribute to the larger picture- because while a huge thing is going on, other 'normal' but still emergency matters are taking place that can still necessitate immediate police response.

Unfortunately the bad guy hugely stacked the advantages in his favour and he made the most of it before he was stopped.


On the RMCP and rural policing more generally.

It's evident that it's not fully appreciated how independent each division is for almost all operational matters. The contract policing divisions are mostly paid for by the province, and this can include physical assets, not just officers on the road. The feds kick some money in, but if a province wants multiple ERTs, they need to pay for it. They want a helicopter, they're covering most of the costs. They want a new radio system, they're paying for it. In some cases the RCMP are contracted by municipalities themselves. Rural policing is thin on the ground anywhere you go. While the RCMP seem to have it worse than, say, OPP, it's still a simple reality that there are only so many out there- and on a night shift or weekend  you don't necessarily have a bunch of bodies in an office who can throw their belt and vest on and hit the road like what happened at Moncton. So that means that among the few scattered rural detachments - maybe 20-60 minutes apart from each other, each with just a couple members on, you need to be able to assemble and respond quickly to something highly dangerous potentially anywhere. The first few hours of that will be whoever happens to be on shift or can be called in quickly from bed.

When minutes count, ERT is only hours away. With few exceptions they generally aren't sitting there waiting for a call ready to go. Certainly not overnight in Nova Scotia. I'm not sure if NS' team is full time or part time- some provinces / territories have ERTs that are part time, when an ERT call comes in they drop what they're doing (whether at a desk or on the road), suit up and go. And at that, they can only work with the information available. They still need to be pointed at the threat and told 'go. If nobody can point them to the threat, all they can do is be ready for when that comes. ERT is a highly capable but also expensive capability. Nunavut was mentioned upthread- they had a team for a while, but they couldn't sustain it. They couldn't keep enough ERT trained members in the territory to have their own team. So now they have a containment team comprised of general duty members, and if they need ERT, they have to fly them up from Ottawa or Edmonton generally. Less than idea, but Nunavut cannot justify or sustain a full time ERT. That means you have to have enough members with that skillset doing other jobs, and that's tough. Everyone serving in the territories has volunteered to do so. Nunavut in particular is a short commitment, and there's a lot of turnover (and a lot of burnout). But, at that, nearly anywhere in the country ERT will take hours to get there. Critical incidents have a rude habit of not happening in convenient locations, and they're infrequent enough that the opportunity cost of maintaining Cadillac capabilities to respond really fast means taking away form member son the road taking calls, for a capability that will sit unused most of the time. Damned hard to justify... Yes, nearly every Mountie on the road has had a C8 and active shooter training for years now. That only goes so far.

Some changes will be coming. The RCMP are entering collective bargaining negotiations soon, having newly won the right to that and recently formed a union. Issues like 'cop to pop' ratio will be on the table for sure. The long term trend should be towards more officers on the road in isolated areas to be able to provide cover for each other. That is, however, going to come at a cost. The RCMP have been funded, paid, and treated as policing on the cheap for a long time. It's going to be a painful process as this changes, whether by agreement or binding arbitration.
 

mariomike

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Brihard said:
The long term trend should be towards more officers on the road in isolated areas to be able to provide cover for each other. That is, however, going to come at a cost. 

Does the RCMP still operate one-officer cars?
 

BeyondTheNow

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Brihard said:
Almost exclusively.

Out of curiosity, is that strictly so more coverage is available, a personnel/manning issue, budget, or all of the above? I know of several regional services wanting multiple officer vehicles in certain areas, but was wondering if the reasons those requests can’t be managed is the same for the RCMP as it is for others.
 

mariomike

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Metro switched to the two-officer car in 1976. Nothing new about it.

Yes, it did result in hiring more officers to fill those passenger seats.

 

brihard

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BeyondTheNow said:
Out of curiosity, is that strictly so more coverage is available, a personnel/manning issue, budget, or all of the above? I know of several regional services wanting multiple officer vehicles in certain areas, but was wondering if the reasons those requests can’t be managed is the same for the RCMP as it is for others.

My thinking is all of the above. Personal opinion based on observation and conversation. I don’t have data at hand to back it.
 

mariomike

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Brihard said:
My thinking is all of the above. Personal opinion based on observation and conversation. I don’t have data at hand to back it.

Been pretty common across North America for decades. At least as far back as the 1950's. Remember Adam-12 and Car 54?

From the U.S. Department of Justice,

"IN CITIES WHERE ONE-MAN PATROL PREDOMINATES, THERE IS PERSISTENT PRESSURE FROM POLICE UNIONS AND FROM THE RANK AND FILE TO MOVE TOWARD TWO-MAN CARS. IN MANY CITIES WHERE TWO-MAN CARS PREDOMINATE, THERE IS PRESSURE FROM POLICE ADMINISTRATORS CONCERNED ABOUT PATROL COVERAGE AND FROM CITY OFFICIALS CONCERNED ABOUT TAX RATES TO USE ONE-MAN CARS WHEREVER POSSIBLE."
( Copy/paste, sorry for the caps. )
https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/Abstract.aspx?id=45248

Metro fought the arbitration all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, and lost. They still dug their heels. It took a work to rule to get it finally initiated. They can thank Sid Brown.

 
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