Fifteen Sea to Sky RCMP members converged on Whistler Secondary last weekend, training for the unlikely event of a violent incident.
The training exercise was designed to give police a tactical advantage when responding to an immediate threat where someone is actively hurting people, such as those tragedies encountered at Columbine and Sandy Hook. The training, however, can also apply to locations other than schools, such as parking lots, offices and shopping malls.
“It’s a standardised training that police officers take so they can provide a comprehensive approach to dealing with these scenarios,” said Whistler RCMP Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair, who participated in the exercise.
Fifteen officers from Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton, in addition to four instructors, were called in for the training. Off-duty police officers and their acquaintances filled in to play the role of bystanders. No students were used in the exercise.
Organizers chose the Whistler location due to its relative isolation, so as to avoid a spectacle within a crowded neighbourhood. The school is not known to be under any kind threat.
It’s the goal of the RCMP to have every officer trained in this kind of emergency response, said LeClair, who expects to see another exercise organized in the near future.
“This is done to have a plan in place. After all of these shootings that have happened over the years, the RCMP has developed a stronger approach to dealing with them,” he said. “We have floor plans of all the schools — that type of thing.
“This is just to have a method in place to deal with those types of incidents.”