Charlottetown police now equipped with high-powered carbine rifles

Dave Stewart
Published on January 9, 2017

Charlottetown Police Services Chief Paul Smith, left, says they are now equipped with 10 high-powered carbine rifles. Training will need to take place before they are put in police vehicles. Coun. Jason Coady, chairman of the city’s protective and emergency services committee, says it’s another tool in their arsenal to keep both police and residents safe.

©Dave Stewart/TC Media

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — City police in Charlottetown will soon be arming themselves with high-powered carbine rifles.

Coun. Jason Coady, chairman of the city’s protective and emergency services committee, revealed at Monday night’s council meeting that the rifles have arrived.

The Guardian spoke to Charlottetown Police Services Chief Paul Smith after the regular public meeting of council. Smith said the force is now in possession of 10 carbine rifles, which came at no cost to the city.

Smith said the police force will have to pay for things like training, ammunition, slings for the weapons and equipment so they can be placed in the police cruisers.

“If you’re looking at training and ammo you’re looking at a couple thousand dollars. You’re talking so much for a thousand rounds (but) I can’t tell you exactly what the cost is,’’ Smith said.

The carbine rifles arrived in Charlottetown over the holidays.

The Guardian reported last January that it would cost the city between $15,000 and $20,000 to equip each of the police vehicles with the rifle. The rifle runs about $2,500 and there are between six and eight vehicles on the streets of Charlottetown on any given shift.

Smith said they haven’t decided whether each vehicle will get a rifle.

“We’re working on that. We’ve got to finalize our policy and get people trained.’’

Smith said he will speak to the protective and emergency services committee about issues such as where the rifles would be placed in the vehicles and any other equipment that is deemed necessary.

Smith said training will begin soon.

“There’s no place (in Charlottetown) you can train indoors. You have to train outdoors and it’s all subject to access. There’s no (firing) range you can fire a carbine at inside.’’

The issue of carbines for police in Canada got international attention following the 2014 shooting in Moncton where three RCMP officers were killed and two others wounded. RCMP officers asked for the carbines and criticized for force for taking so long to supply them. An independent review called for better access to shotguns and rifles.

Carbines are considered accurate up to 300 meters.

Summerside Police Services has them and the Kensington force is also equipped. All RCMP detachments in P.E.I. are also now equipped.

Coun. Bob Doiron, who has worked with UPEI police for the past 30 years and has some experience with the city police, has been pushing the Charlottetown force to bring the rifles in.

“Part of my mandate for getting elected was to push for police safety,’’ Doiron said. “I meet a lot with the officers and residents of Ward 6 and this was (an issue) that came up.

“With the world events that come up, there are shooters everywhere. I just wanted to push it forward. This would be best suited to serve the residents of Charlottetown and protect the officers and residents.’’

Coady echoed Doiron’s comments.

“They do a fabulous job in the Charlottetown area and we’ll have more of a comfort level with another tool in place,’’ Coady said.

What is a carbine rifle?

A carbine, from French carabine, is a long arm firearm but with a shorter barrel than a rifle or musket. Many carbines are shortened versions of full-length rifles, shooting the same ammunition, while others fire lower-powered ammunition, including those designed for pistols.

The smaller size and lighter weight of carbines make them easier to handle. They are typically issued to high-mobility troops, such as special operations soldiers and paratroopers, as well as to mounted, supply or other non-infantry personnel whose roles do not require full-sized rifles.