Be alert and safe dur­ing Canada 150

Po­lice tak­ing all-hands-on­deck ap­proach to se­cu­rity

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - CANADA - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Be alert but not alarmed, po­lice are urg­ing Cana­di­ans who will con­gre­gate un­der the Peace Tower next month for Canada 150 cel­e­bra­tions — a mas­sive pub­lic gath­er­ing for which in­tel­li­gence agen­cies and emer­gency teams have spent months pre­par­ing.

Ex­perts are well aware of what is at stake on July 1, es­pe­cially in the wake of the deadly shoot­ings that erupted on Par­lia­ment Hill in 2014.

“When you’re talk­ing about (Canada) 150, you’re talk­ing about bring­ing a num­ber of Cana­di­ans to­gether,” said Ter­ence Chase, a for­mer Cana­dian Forces sol­dier and di­rec­tor of B.C.-based se­cu­rity con­sul­tants De­fense In­tel­li­gence Ser­vice.

“It is ex­actly the tar­get-rich en­vi­ron­ment that (at­tack­ers) are look­ing for.”

Ot­tawa po­lice Supt. Joan McKenna, who over­sees plan­ning for Canada Day events, said of­fi­cers in the na­tional cap­i­tal will take an all-hands-on-deck se­cu­rity ap­proach that will in­clude ev­ery­thing from ca­nine units to car­bines and long guns.

“We can’t con­trol ev­ery­thing,” McKenna said in an in­ter­view.

“What we can con­trol is that there is strong com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the fed­eral in­tel­li­gence agen­cies, the RCMP and our Ot­tawa po­lice in­tel­li­gence sec­tion.”

The pub­lic should be vig­i­lant, but not afraid, she added.

“There’s lots of eyes and ears out there — not just the po­lice but there’s the pub­lic ... city work­ers, any­one part of emer­gency plan­ning,” McKenna said.

Emer­gency per­son­nel will also be de­ploy­ing spe­cial re­sources in or­der to ef­fec­tively nav­i­gate the se­cu­rity en­ve­lope, said Marc-An­toine Deschamps, su­per­in­ten­dent of pub­lic in­for­ma­tion with the Ot­tawa Para­medic Ser­vice.

“If there’s limited ve­hi­cle ac­cess to a lo­ca­tion, that means that our am­bu­lances can­not go there so what it means is we have to find al­ter­na­tive ways of trans­port­ing our pa­tients out of some ar­eas,” Deschamps said.

Paramedics will use golf cart­sized ve­hi­cles to more eas­ily nav­i­gate the crowds, and stretcher teams will be de­ployed when nec­es­sary to carry pa­tients from dense ar­eas to­ward trans­port ve­hi­cles.

Paramedics will also be rid­ing bikes through the precinct, he added.

“We have a pic­ture dat­ing back years that has an am­bu­lance try­ing to drive down Welling­ton,” he said, re­fer­ring to the busy, tourist-jammed street that runs right along the edge of the Par­lia­ment Hill grounds.

there’s lots of eyes and ears out there. Joan McKenna

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

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