RCMP felt ‘outgunned’ years before 3 Moncton officers slain, labour trial hears

Posted on Posted in News from The Force

Supt. Troy Lightfoot testifies he voiced concerns to management about needing to address officer safety

CBC News Posted: Apr 27, 2017 9:00 AM AT Last Updated: Apr 27, 2017 1:32 PM AT

From left, Const. Douglas James Larche, 40, from Saint John, Const. Dave Joseph Ross, 32, from Victoriaville, Que., and Const. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, from Boulogne-Billancourt, France, were killed in Moncton on June 4, 2014. (RCMP)
From left, Const. Douglas James Larche, 40, from Saint John, Const. Dave Joseph Ross, 32, from Victoriaville, Que., and Const. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, from Boulogne-Billancourt, France, were killed in Moncton on June 4, 2014. (RCMP)

The RCMP felt “outgunned” after the 2005 killings of four Mounties in Mayerthorpe, Alta., a senior officer testified Thursday at the national force’s trial on charges of violating the labour code in connection with the shooting deaths of three Moncton Mounties and the wounding of two others in 2014.

Supt. Troy Lightfoot, a 31-year veteran and expert in the use of force, said he believed better tools and tactics were required to respond to active shooters.

“We felt the RCMP was outgunned,” he told the Moncton courtroom during the fourth day of the trial.

“It was obvious we had a gap in our firearms capability,”

Although carbine weapons were recommended for front-line officers, the feedback from management was that more research was needed, said Lightfoot.

“It was overwhelming,” he said, echoing the comments of Supt. Bruce Stuart, a certified instructor in carbine training, who testified on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Lightfoot said he expressed concerns to management about a lack of resources and personnel on the carbine project. He felt they needed to address the officer safety concerns that had been raised with respect to potentially lethal encounters.

The Taser death of a citizen at the Vancouver International Airport in 2007 added to the workload, given criticisms from media and other groups that the force hadn’t done comprehensive research before adopting Tasers.

“We were told we needed to do independent research” on carbines, he said. “That was the ‘new’ model we had to follow now.”

Asked by the Crown how long the fallout from the Taser death continued, Lightfoot said it was still going on when he left in 2009.

“And I’m sure it continued until after I left.”

“Limited” work was being done on the carbines project during that time, he said. “It was just unattainable to attain it alone, or without any additional resources.”

Financial concerns

Earlier in the trial, Stuart testified the 2005 killings in Mayerthorpe were the key driver to equip officers with carbines. However, the effort was slowed down because of financial concerns.

Stuart said he voiced his concerns about the project focusing on resources rather than officers’ safety, but the project went ahead with financial restrains with some departments waiting years to get carbines.

Codiac RCMP did not have carbines when Justin Bourque went on his shooting rampage and killed three officers and wounded two others on June 4, 2014.

Stuart also said the 2007 Taser death of Robert Dziekański at the Vancouver airport also affected the roll-out of carbines.

Stuart said this contributed to many studies on carbines being done out of fear of public scrutiny.

Justin Bourque was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to the longest jail term in Canadian history.

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