RCMP Integrated Teams Save Lives (and Money)
June 20, 2012 / 2:30 PM
On Monday, June 18, 2012, Chief Superintendent Janice Armstrong made a presentation [PDF, 915KB] to Council on the work of the RCMP Integrated Units, and how their deployment offers citizens of Maple Ridge public safety and efficiency benefits from these highly trained teams.
The Integrated Units include:
- Emergency Response Team (ERT)
- Integrated Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Service (ICARS)
- Integrated Forensic Identification Service (IFIS)
- Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT)
- Police Dog Service (PDS)
- Lower Mainland Traffic Safety Helicopter Program
Assistant Commissioner District Commander Norm Lipinski, a joined C/Supt. Armstrong for the presentation and noted that these teams serve the local community and work closely with the Ridge Meadows detachment. He then referenced the Angus Mitchell case which demonstrated the capacity and value of the integrated teams. A/Commr. District Commander Lipinski walked told Council about the timeline of the incident which began with the double murder in Burnaby. He said, "Members of IHIT identified a 'person and vehicle of interest' in the Burnaby murders, and given the imminent danger decided to engage the public's help to locate the suspect. Maple Ridge resident Suzanne Murphy spotted the vehicle as part of her daily walk and called 9-1-1. Officers from the Ridge-Meadows Detachment responded and established a perimeter, and the ERT and PDS units responded. The RCMP Tactical Armoured Vehicle and Air One helicopter were also used to reduce the risk to the public and for the safety of the police officers in this dangerous situation. The subsequent investigation revealed that Mr. Mitchell had a list of people that he was seeking. The keen eye of Ms. Murphy and the seamless integration and work of the local RCMP members with the integrated units resulted in lives being saved."
C/Supt. Armstrong explained to Mayor and Council that incidents like the Angus Mitchell apprehension have the potential to overwhelm smaller community policing operations, which is why most of the municipal police forces in the Lower Mainland have mutual aide agreements in place to draw on the resources of the RCMP integrated units and their operational expertise.
C/Supt. Armstrong's presentation also touched on the work of the Integrated Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Service (ICARS) and how this unit had been deployed into the community on a number of occasions to assist with the investigation of traffic accidents especially where a fatality is involved. She noted that these detailed investigations are important in determining the circumstances that led to an accident and ensuring that charges are laid when a criminal act is discovered.
Superintendent Dave Walsh, RCMP Officer in Charge for Ridge-Meadows,, is a former ERT member and is fully trained as an Incident Commander to support an ERT deployment. He said, "I know, first hand, the specialized training that members of the integrated units bring to their work protecting the public in the Lower Mainland. The ability of our detachment to call on these services to deal with incidents in Maple Ridge is a tremendous asset. The recently announced expansion of the Integrated Forensic Identification Service in the Ridge-Meadows Detachment will bring expertise into our community that will benefit the citizens of Maple Ridge and the officers who live and serve this community."
Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin thanked C/Supt. Armstrong for her presentation to Council. "There has been a lot of discussion about policing costs in the last couple of months. I hope that people understand that the policing model we have in Maple Ridge and the partnership between the RCMP and this Council to keep our community safe is first rate. It's also very cost effective. Beyond that, this model also means that citizens have access to world class specialized teams to deal with incidents such as the one involving Angus Mitchell. "Mayor Daykin continued, "Just this last weekend the Hells Angels held a large gathering in our community and the RCMP bolstered local policing resources with 30 officers from a number of regional task forces to ensure that citizens were not impacted in any way. These extra resources did not come with a giant bill to local taxpayers, it is part of the great policing service that we have with the RCMP. When people ask me why we were the first community in BC to ratify the new policing contract, I have numerous examples of how this relationship saves lives and saves money."
For more information about the integrated units, please contact:
C/Supt. Janice Armstrong
For information about policing in Maple Ridge, please contact:
Supt. Dave Walsh