RCMP emergency alert policy implemented almost two years after the NS shooting incident

Two years after being criticized for failing to issue an emergency alert during the 13-hour killing in Nova Scotia, the RCMP finally implemented a national alert readiness policy.

The internal policy on page 8 came into effect on March 1st and was provided to the Canadian press by the RCMP.

It outlines situations where public alerts can be used, including active shooter situations, terrorist attacks, riots and natural disasters.

Each commander is to establish the status of a public alarm coordinator and hold statistics on the use of alarms.

According to the policy, members collect information about the incident. This includes a description of people and vehicles. Where and when the incident occurred, why the alert was issued, and “It is expected that the actions of the general public will take place.”

The supervisor or unit commander approves these requests, and the RCMP states that the decision to use alerts is “at the discretion of the officers who respond to and manage the incident.”

“The RCMP policy provides a guide for dealing with incidents, but it does not instruct officers to issue alerts because the policy does not cover all possible situations,” said an RCMP spokeswoman. Said in an email.

In April 2020, gunman Gabriel Wortman killed 22 people in Nova Scotia while driving a simulated police car in the guise of a police officer. The murder lasted more than 100 kilometers and more than 13 hours, but the emergency alert system was activated and did not warn the public.

RCMP used Twitter instead to share information.

The unit said it was in the process of drafting a warning when the shooter was killed by police on April 19, but senior police officers also used the system in ongoing hearings on the shooting. It became clear that I didn’t know.

The victim’s family said that lives could have been saved if the people had been previously notified. The hearing is tasked with investigating communication with the RCMP’s public during and after the weekend.

Dustin Rodier, who was in charge of the Operations Communication Center during the superintendent shooting, said in an inquiry last week that “alert lady will be considered” at the current lively shooting event.

Previously released evidence confirmed that senior RCMP police officers were worried that broader public alerts could endanger police officers by causing a “desperate panic.” The cavalry also suggests that 911 operators may have been overwhelmed by callers seeking information.

Nova Scotia has used an emergency alert system 12 times since the shooting of an event involving police response. “We have never had a major panic in response to the use of the system,” said Paul Mason, head of the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Agency.

Cheryl McNeil, a consultant and former employee of the Toronto Police Department, called this theory “panic myth” and “how panic can occur as long as the warning is clear, concise, and oriented. I don’t know. The expected result of advising the public on the information they need to know. “

RCMP’s national policy states that “calls will increase” after an alert is sent, which can be resource intensive. We recommend that you bring in more staff if possible.

Rodier said in a question that it was the best way to counter this through public education on emergency alerts, but also said that RCMP has not developed public education tools. She said it was state-dependent.

The new policy provides officers in each department with a public alert protocol, including what to do if an incident moves from one state or territory to another, in cooperation with state or territory authorities. You need to instruct it to establish.

Since the shooting, RCMP has been able to issue its own alerts in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick thanks to the agreement signed between the two states.

In 2016, the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Agency provided the RCMP with the ability to issue alerts, according to a summary of evidence presented at the hearing.

The offer was not accepted.

Sarah Ritchie

Canadian press


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