RCMP’s Labour Code trial stem­ming from shoot­ing hears about car­bine ac­qui­si­tion

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton/Atlantic - BY ALY THOM­SON

Ob­tain­ing car­bine ri­fles was a top pri­or­ity for the RCMP three years be­fore a shoot­ing ram­page in Monc­ton, N.B., but there were a num­ber of el­e­ments to con­sider be­fore front line of­fi­cers were armed with the high-pow­ered weapons, an in­spec­tor has tes­ti­fied at the na­tional po­lice force’s Labour Code trial.

The RCMP is ac­cused of fail­ing to pro­vide mem­bers and su­per­vi­sors with the ap­pro­pri­ate in­for­ma­tion, in­struc­tion, equip­ment and train­ing in an ac­tive-shooter event.

Car­bine ri­fles were not avail­able to gen­eral duty of­fi­cers dur­ing Justin Bourque’s shoot­ing ram­page on June 4, 2014, and Crown wit­nesses have tes­ti­fied they could have made a dif­fer­ence in the tragedy that killed three Moun­ties and wounded two oth­ers.

Insp. Larry Brook­son told Monc­ton pro­vin­cial court Wed­nes­day that he started work­ing on the pro­gram in De­cem­ber 2011 and that arm­ing front line of­fi­cers with C8 car­bine ri­fles was a high pri­or­ity at the time.

“For me, it was pri­or­ity one,’’ said Brook­son, who worked on the project un­til June 2013.

He said he was told: ``Get it to the front line.’’

But Brook­son tes­ti­fied there were a num­ber of as­pects that needed to be con­sid­ered in ob­tain­ing and de­ploy­ing the ri­fles, in­clud­ing a risk as­sess­ment that would de­ter­mine where the first batch of weapons were needed most.

“It took a while, but it’s those boxes that needed to be checked off,’’ the de­fence wit­ness told Judge Les­lie Jack­son.

Brook­son said train­ing pro­ce­dures and poli­cies had to be de­vel­oped, and a num­ber of equip­ment is­sues also had to be sorted.

For ex­am­ple, the Moun­tie’s racks in their po­lice cars would not sup­port the car­bines, so an­other rack had to be cho­sen that could store a car­bine or a shot­gun. He said the ri­fles also had to be se­cure when the of­fi­cer was away from the ve­hi­cle.

“You don’t want a car­bine fall­ing into the wrong hands,’’ said Brook­son.

CP PHOTO

In this file photo, po­lice keep watch on a house as they search for a heav­ily armed gun­man fol­low­ing the shoot­ing of three Moun­ties in Monc­ton, N.B., on June 5, 2014. Arm­ing front line of­fi­cers with car­bine ri­fles was a “high pri­or­ity” for se­nior Moun­ties three years be­fore a shoot­ing ram­page in Monc­ton, an RCMP deputy com­mis­sioner tes­ti­fied Wed­nes­day at the na­tional po­lice force’s Labour Code trial.

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