With mass shootings in the news far too regularly, RCMP members in the Sea to Sky corridor did some proactive training this week.
Staff Sgt Andy LeClair took 15 members of the RCMP through a two-day Immediate Action Rapid Deployment course at Whistler Secondary School.
"It's training to deal with an active threat," said LeClair near the end of the training session on Sunday, Sept. 29. "When somebody is driven just to hurt people and kill people the police need to respond as rapidly as possible. There's no time to contain, there's no time to negotiate. They simply have to move in and apprehend and stop the individual as quickly as possible to save lives."
Whistler Secondary was chosen as the training location because of its remote setting, not because a threat has been identified at the school.
The training is designed to protect students in school, but LeClair said what the members learned is applicable to other places like a mall or Whistler's Village Square, any place where people gather in large numbers.
"The training is very realistic, it's scenario-based training," said LeClair. "The RCMP pistols are converted to shoot paint pellets so it adds a sense of realism that if you do something wrong tactically you might get shot, and it stings."
The 15 people who went through the course are all regular members of the police force. LeClair said they received the additional training to add to their existing skills and knowledge. "We have to prepare for the worst, though obviously we hope for the best," he said.
Grow-op raided, destroyed
On Sept. 25, the Sea to Sky General Investigations Section and Lower Mainland emergency response teams destroyed an outdoor grow-op in the Pemberton area, located along a disused road 16 kilometres up the Green River Forest Service Road. The officers hiked into the area, confirming two sites and destroying an estimated 650 marijuana plants. No suspects were located.
The RCMP has now raided some 27 outdoor grow operations in the Pemberton area, using helicopters to spot the sites and ground teams to go in and destroy the plants. Sites had anywhere from 50 to 1,000 plants.
Police investigate break and enter
The RCMP has obtained a fingerprint from a break and enter that occurred on the 9400 block of Emerald Estates on Sept. 29 at 6:45 a.m.
The owner of the house was sleeping and heard a banging noise and her rear sliding door moving. She got up and noticed that her furniture was out of place, and outside saw a person down the road with a flashlight. The police attended, and obtained the fingerprint from the sliding door.
RCMP still seeking bike owners
The Whistler RCMP is still seeking the owners of four of the seven bikes recovered from a rented van in West Vancouver on Aug. 15.
One of the bikes in the van was an RCMP bait bike with a GPS responder built in, allowing the police to track the vehicle before stopping it at Highway 99 and Sunset Beach.
Two of the bikes have been confirmed stolen and returned to the owners, but four of the bikes have yet to be reported stolen or claimed. The RCMP believes this is possibly because the owners did not insure the bikes and thought it unlikely that they would be returned.
The makes of the bikes were released last week in the hope that people come forward and file police reports: they are a Norco Reval, Kona Howler, Rocky Mountain and Specialized Stump Jumper.
Establishing that these bikes were in fact stolen will have an impact on the charges that the two men arrested with the bait bike could face.