Charlottetown Coun. Bob Doiron must be feeling somewhat satisfied today. It took two years or more, but the city’s police department is now on a level playing field with other police forces across the province. Santa Claus delivered over the Christmas holidays.
year ago Coun. Doiron went public about the need for city police to be armed
with high-powered carbine rifles. He was getting frustrated. More than a year
before he raised the issue at the Jan. 2016 council meeting, he was lobbying to
have every police vehicle equipped with long-range rifles.
Doiron was elected in November 2014 and almost immediately he went to work on behalf
of the city’s police. Coun. Doiron wasn’t a ‘civilian’
coming onto the scene and it wasn’t just a knee-jerk reaction to the June 2014 tragedy
in Moncton where three RCMP officers were shot to death and two others injured
by a man armed with a rifle.
Doiron is an officer with UPEI's police department since 1987. City police
safety was raised during his first civic election in Nov. 2014. A retired
police officer in his ward brought the rifle issue to his attention.
though other police departments across P.E.I. had carbines – Summerside,
Kensington and RCMP - city hall dragged its heels because of costs. Money was
the issue that kept rifles out of the hands of Moncton’s RCMP officers until it
was too late.
though the projected cost was a mere $15,000 to $20,000 - as it turned out, the
rifles came at no cost to the department. They arrived over the Christmas
holidays from National Defence at no charge.
important thing is that police have their rifles - another
tool in the arsenal to keep officers safe and residents secure. The police department
budget will have to pay for things like training, ammunition, slings for the
weapons and equipment so they can be placed in the police cruisers. Let’s hope city
council won’t haggle over these minimal costs.
is reluctance among some municipalities to have its officers properly armed. Moncton
RCMP had asked for rifles and it took a tragedy before help arrived. Even then,
it was still a year after the three officers died before rifles were delivered
and officers trained.
Charlottetown is a capital city. There are high profile
targets that could come under attack. Standard issue pistols may not be able to
handle certain situations. You can deal with emergencies from a far greater
distance with a carbine than with a pistol.
never knows when a shooting incident might occur and police must be ready and trained
to best serve the residents of Charlottetown.
Coun. Doiron wasn’t being
overly dramatic when he suggested it’s a life-and-death
matter. “As a policeman, when you get a call, especially a gun call, you don’t
know what you’re going to face.”
must be able to protect citizens. If police officers don’t have the tools and
can’t perform their duties, it is a concern.
one less concern today.