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Reflecting a year after the Moncton tragedy that has forever changed us

  Chief Jean-Michel Blais
 

June 4, 2015

It’s hard to believe that one year ago today, the lives of three of our comrades in Moncton were tragically taken. I dare say that all of us were changed as a result of that day. Knowing that it happened in close proximity to us to people some of us knew personally has changed us in ways that’s hard to put into words. Ultimately, it was a solemn reminder of the inherent dangers of policing and that life can change in an instant.

We’ve been asked many times if we’re prepared if something similar were to happen here. We had a number of initiatives in place but recognized that some areas needed attention. I feel it’s important to share this information with you so that you hear it from your police service and are confident in our ability to respond to such an incident, especially since you may see this information on the news today:


EXISTING INITIATIVES

Rapid Deployment Training: In place since 2003, focusing primarily on active shooters in schools/universities. We’re currently sourcing outdoor training opportunities for our officers in 2016.

Emergency Response Team (ERT): 24/7 ERT capabilities in place since 2014.

Carbine (long-gun): Long-established program with a contingent of carbines in each of our Divisions, plus ERT members on each shift who carry their own. This allows for additional, more accurate, long-distance fire power as needed.

Incident Command System: In place for years, with a number of level-2 incident commanders who manage critical incidents.

Partnership with RCMP: We spell one another off in a crisis, work together regularly on front-line interventions, undertake joint training and familiarization with each other’s equipment, and align our standards where possible.


RECENT/UPCOMING ENHANCEMENTS

Hard-Body Armour: In addition to all of our officers wearing soft-body armour, we have sufficient numbers of hard-body armour as required for all responding officers.

Voice Encryption: Introduced as part of the transition to TMR2 (state-of-the-art radio communications network), meaning that most police radio transmissions are no longer accessible to the public which ensures public and officer safety, and protects the security and integrity of police operations.

Public Communication: Critical incidents require different communication with media and citizens. We rely heavily on social media to get our messages out during a crisis, providing accurate information to our citizens and directing them accordingly.

Vehicle Markings: Placing vehicle numbers on rooftops of our vehicles to be seen by helicopters and drones.

Employee Wellness: Over and above our amazing Employee & Family Assistance program, our Wellness Committee is looking at wellness from a holistic perspective, with a particular emphasis on the psychological well-being of our employees. We’re working with the Mental Health Commission of Canada to launch the Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) train-the-trainer sessions this fall.

Real-Time Crime Centre: Launched in Feb. 2015, providing real-time intelligence to support front-line officers, including during critical incidents.

Education: Undertaking an active aggressor/shooter educational campaign with internal and external audiences.

We’ve come a long way and it’s imperative that HRP remains ever vigilant in our efforts to stay ahead of the curve with respect to preparedness.

Today will undoubtedly be a difficult day as we all remember the sacrifice of the brave officers in Moncton one year ago. They will be forever remembered.

JM Blais

Chief Jean-Michel (JM) Blais