Opinion: Chilliwack’s role in police training

This year a new $19-million indoor firing range will add depth to the training RCMP members receive in Chilliwack.

The shooting of two Alberta RCMP members on the weekend is another chilling example of the potential danger police face at every encounter.

The two men were following up a routine licence plate check at a St. Albert casino when a man, well known to police, opened fire.

Auxiliary Const. Derek Bond was hit in the arm and torso and has since been released from hospital.

Const. David Wynn was struck in the head and taken off life support yesterday. He is not expected to survive.

The violence comes just days after the release of recommendations following the killing of three Mounties in Moncton last June.

The 180-page report, released Friday, calls for improved firepower and better training. Among the 64 recommendations is that more RCMP members be issued carbine rifles – a key recommendation following the shooting deaths of four Mounties in Mayerthorpe, Alberta a decade ago.

Whether or not those recommendations would have played a factor in the St. Albert tragedy is unlikely; the two men were shot before they could even draw their weapons.

But the shootings do underline the need for ongoing and unrelenting training.

Chilliwack continues to play an important role in that education. At the Pacific Regional Training Centre, RCMP and other frontline officers receive regular firearms and use-of-force instruction.

But it’s not just about shooting straight. Members are taught how to anticipate a threat, how to react to it safely and appropriately, and how to protect themselves and the public during a violent encounter.

Training sessions are scenario-based, because even the most innocuous traffic stop can turn deadly in a heartbeat.

This year a new $19-million indoor firing range will add depth to the training RCMP members receive in Chilliwack.  It won’t remove the threat; the issue is far too complex for that.

However, it will add another layer in ensuring police officers, who work to keep us safe every day, come home at the end of their shift.