‘For public and officer safety:’ Edmonton city police mum on possibility of third armoured vehicle

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It was also made available for use by the RCMP in central and northern Alberta.

In 2006, a fatality inquiry report on the deaths of RCMP Cpl. Jim Galloway and Martin Ostopovich recommended that such a vehicle be available to area police. Galloway and Ostopovich were both shot to death during a standoff in Spruce Grove in February 2004.

Galloway’s family specifically asked for the RCMP to purchase such a vehicle during the inquiry. The 55-year-old Mountie was shot by Ostopovich as he got out of his SUV to take cover. Moments before, Galloway had tried to ram Ostopovich’s vehicle with the SUV to keep the gunman from escaping the scene.

Officers testified at the inquiry that there wasn’t an armoured vehicle available to them. In his fatality inquiry report, Judge Peter Ayotte said such a vehicle may have prevented the two deaths.

Files from 2016 show there are about 400 calls for the Edmonton city police tactical unit every year, including minor calls where only one or two squad members are needed. Less than 10 per cent of of calls are critical incidents where an armoured vehicle might be deployed.

The 2019 annual policing plan, the latest posted to the Edmonton Police Commission website, shows $28.19 million earmarked for vehicle replacements throughout the police division. This would include any replacements needed for any police vehicle in the city whether that be tactical, a squad car or either of the city police force’s two helicopters.

A separate section of the policing plan states that “workload for the tactical section is significant and gaps in coverage are currently being mitigated with high levels of standby pay and overtime.” It said an injection of resources would allow for the unit to move to a four-unit squad from its current three-squad model.

Calgary Police Services revealed a new armoured rescue vehicle they purchased for close to $500,000 in April 2019. Insp. Nancy Farmer said it took about four years to acquire the new equipment.

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— With files from Canadian Press 

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