The Nova Scotia RCMP says a centralized command post that was established last year will help improve communication during critical police incidents.
The “Critical Incident Operations Room” was not designed in response to the April 2020 killings at Colchester Co., but the Chief Superintendent. Darren Campbell – who is now based in New Brunswick – told the Mass Casualty Commission that the project was a key objective.
“Identifying the issues in terms of communication challenges or missed opportunities due to communication issues through this incident has been a driving factor in trying to streamline and increase our communication capabilities on operations. of critical incidents by creating this room,” Campbell said in July. 25.
On Wednesday, the RCMP gave Global News a tour of the room, which is based at its Dartmouth headquarters after the dispatch center also moved from Truro in 2020.
The room has a variety of mapping programs, including Pictometry, a detailed map with satellite images that is clearer and more detailed than Google Earth.
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It can be used for critical incidents including firefights, hostage takings, and calls for armed or barricaded persons. Or, the Critical Incident Commander (CIC) may choose to establish a mobile command post at the scene.
But two key advantages are that the centralized location can be staffed and established much more quickly than a mobile command post, and that key RCMP officials are together and within walking distance of the operations communications center ( OCC) and can communicate with dispatch and 911 call takers.
“This can only improve our response,” says Glen Byrne, head of the force’s operational support and communications center. “The flow of information is definitely better.”
“We are still taking calls for the rest of the province,” he says. “So there could be several other major incidents that we face up there. So by activating this room, he separates it from normal operations.
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Insp. Matco Sirotic, who is one of the RCMP’s CICs, says the room “relieves a lot of pressure on frontline members who sometimes deal with chaos.”
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“They’re under a lot of pressure and knowing that we’re here now and that we can say, ‘We’re here, we’re going to help, we’re going to take remote control of this scene,’ it makes them feel good,” says “And then I’m in a better position here, for talk’s sake, within 40 minutes, then sometimes three hours to be able to visualize.”
He says challenges when establishing a mobile command post can include travel times for the CIC and ensuring the location is in a safe and secure area.
“A big advantage of this room is … (the) availability to monitor everything, to see where the resources are,” says Sirotic.
Sirotic says a CIC can see where officers are and where perimeters are in relation to important areas or suspect locations.
“I can even tell from here that I see a weak point,” he says.
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The personnel that would be in the room would include the CIC, a negotiator, the emergency response team leader, a scribe, and someone from the OCC and the force media team.
Michael Scott, a lawyer representing the majority of victims’ families, says there appears to be “unnecessary bureaucracy” when it comes to contacting the RCMP.
“What we thought was encouraging with the changes that have been made is the somewhat logical change of bringing these people together in the same room so that when critical information comes in it’s elevated and doesn’t miss the how we saw it. in April 2020.”
“Certainly it was clear that the issues within the OCC and the way information was communicated between the various first responders was an issue,” he says.
“It obviously would have been better if it hadn’t taken something like April 2020 to cause this, but it seems like a step in the right direction.”
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