Isn’t it about time that we as Canadians were given answers to some tough basic questions about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ?
Over the past 14 years, a dozen Mounties have been shot to death in the line of duty. This week in Moncton New Brunswick, three officers were killed and two others wounded by a 24-year-old lone gunman.
Nine years ago, four Mounties were ambushed and killed by a known cop hater in Mayerthorpe Alberta. In the summer of 2006, near Spiritwood Saskatchewan, Constables Robin Cameron and Mark Bourdages were killed in an exchange of gunfire with Curtis Dagenais. He was also known to have ‘issues’ with police officers.
We still don’t know much about what happened in Moncton, but many Canadians must once again be wondering “How does one gunman, no matter how well armed, take out three police officers?” No doubt the police force conducted intense reviews of what happened at Mayerthorpe and Spiritwood, but we never saw any detailed final reports.
The other hard questions to be answered should be about training and safety. You don’t have to watch much TV to know that American cops are much more heavily protected, especially from the neck up, when they’re involved in major assaults against bad guys. At Spiritwood, Constables Cameron and Bourdages wore body armour but it did nothing to protect them from the headshots that killed them.
How well prepared are officers when responding to calls that have danger written all over them? If proper ‘backup’ is not readily available, should they have the option to stay well away from shootouts that might put them at too great a risk?
It’s clear that nowhere in what we used to regard as our comfort zone, are we safe from troubled folks who will find a way to arm themselves. If we do nothing else, can we at least do better when it comes to protecting our front line of defence?
I’m Roger Currie