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Crime

Grande Prairie: RCMP Rural Crime Reduction Unit conducts warrant initiative and executes 41 outstanding warrants

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Side of RCMP car

Nov. 19, 2020

 

Western Alberta District RCMP Rural Crime Reduction Unit conducts warrant initiative and executes 41 outstanding warrants

Grande Prairie, Alta.  Between Sept. 21, 2020 and Oct. 30, 2020, the Western Alberta District (WAD) RCMP Rural Crime Reduction Unit (RCRU) conducted a planned warrant initiative to target prolific offenders across Alberta RCMP’s Western Alberta District in the rural communities of Peace River, Grimshaw, High Prairie, Atikameg First Nations, Peavine Metis Settlement and Drayton Valley, Alta.

During this 13 day initiative, WAD RCRU executed 41 outstanding warrants, recovered a stolen vehicle, and conducted vehicle stops and checkstops that resulted in charges for offences including impaired driving, operating a motor vehicle while suspended, operate motor vehicle without registration and operating a motor vehicle while uninsured.

During this initiative, RCMP laid new, additional charges on several individuals for provincial offences and also criminal code offences as a result of their arrest on warrants.

Louis Harry Whitehead (35) of Little Buffalo, Alta. has been charged with:

  • Obstructing a peace officer

Whitehead was released and his next scheduled court appearance is in Peace River Provincial Court on Nov. 23, 2020.

Zackary Edward Badry (18) of Drayton Valley, has been charged with:

  • Possession of stolen property over $5,000
  • Possession of stolen property over $5,000
  • Operation of motor vehicle while prohibited
  • Resist arrest
  • Breach of probation (x2)

Following a judicial hearing, Badry was remanded and his next scheduled court appearance is in Drayton Valley Provincial Court on Dec. 1, 2020.

“The Western AB District Rural Crime Reduction Unit will continue to target and identify prolific offenders within rural communities as part of our ongoing crime reduction strategy in western Alberta,” said Chief Superintendent Rhonda Blackmore, Officer in Charge, Western Alberta District RCMP.

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Alberta

Investigation concludes police shooting of suspect holding gun a reasonable use of force

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Alberta Serious Incident Response Team ASIRT

From the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team

RCMP used reasonable force during serious injury incident

On April 29, 2019, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was directed to investigate the circumstances surrounding injuries sustained by a 33-year-old man during his arrest by members of the Lloydminster RCMP that same date.

On that date, members of the Lloydminster RCMP observed a male driver operating a stolen Dodge Ram 2500 truck within Lloydminster city limits. The truck had been stolen earlier that day during a break and enter at a local vehicle repair shop. Video footage from the repair shop depicted the 33-year-old man as the individual responsible for the break and enter, and at the time, the man was also under investigation in relation to a homicide that had occurred on April 27, 2019.

Police attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the stolen truck, but the truck fled. Officers elected not to pursue the vehicle; however, the vehicle was known to have engine problems and was not expected to be drivable for long. A short time later, two police officers observed the stolen truck in an industrial area of the city. In order to avoid a pursuit, both officers followed the truck from a distance until they observed plumes of smoke emanating from the truck, leading them to believe that the vehicle’s engine had failed.

The two officers stopped their fully marked police vehicles in front of and behind the truck, blocking its path. The man exited the driver’s side door of the truck and fled on foot toward the rear of the truck and into a fenced compound. One of the police officers pursued the man on foot while the second ensured the stolen truck was empty before joining the foot pursuit a short distance behind. As the first officer ran, he called out to the man by name, advising him that he was under arrest. The man continued to run, but soon lost his footing and stumbled on the gravel. The officer drew his conducted energy weapon (CEW) and issued a verbal command for the man to stay down. When the man rose to his feet and began running again, both officers observed a black handgun in the man’s right hand. The first officer radioed that the man had a gun, then drew his service pistol from its holster and issued repeated verbal commands for the man to drop the gun. The man continued running and, as he rounded the corner of a building, he pointed the handgun at the pursuing officer, who then fired his service pistol.

After the officer fired, the man ran behind a parked Volkswagen Jetta. As he turned to get behind the Jetta, still holding the gun in his right hand, the officer fired again. The man ducked behind the car as the officer fired at him through the window of the parked Jetta. The second officer described the man’s actions as a tactical movement to use the vehicle as cover, and after the first officer fired, the man crouched down behind the vehicle. As both officers shouted repeated verbal commands for the man to drop the firearm, the man rose and lifted his firearm. At that moment, the officer fired again – this time striking the man, who fell to the ground, still holding the handgun. Following repeated verbal commands, the man eventually pushed the gun away and rolled over, at which time the second officer placed him in handcuffs.

With the man now in handcuffs, the first officer placed pressure on his wound while the second officer retrieved a first aid kit from the police vehicle. The two officers administered first aid to the man until he was transported by EMS to hospital, where it was confirmed that he had sustained a single penetrating gunshot wound to his left shoulder.

A loaded semi-automatic .22-calibre handgun was recovered from the incident scene, along with other items associated with both the man and the owner of the stolen vehicle. An image of the recovered firearm is not being released at this time, as it relates to a matter that remains before the courts.

Physical and video evidence confirm that five shots were fired during the incident by the first police officer, with approximately 22 seconds elapsing between the first shot and the final shot. Video evidence confirms the placement of the two officers matches the description in their statements, and civilian witness evidence confirms that the man retained possession of the firearm up until the officer’s final shot.

Under Section 25 of the Criminal Code, a police officer is authorized to use as much force as is necessary in order to carry out their lawful duties. In this case, the evidence conclusively establishes that both police officers were on duty, were operating marked RCMP vehicles, and were attired in RCMP uniforms. At the time of the incident, the man was subject to lawful arrest for both the theft and possession of the stolen truck, as well as the flight from police that preceded the incident. In addition to those grounds for arrest, the officer who fired was also aware of the man’s involvement in a homicide incident several days prior, during which a firearm was used. The officer’s knowledge of the man’s involvement and the nature of that incident reasonably elevated the officer’s risk assessment of the situation.

During his interview, the man denied any intention to harm police; however, it is clear from the evidence that throughout the incident he repeatedly refused to follow verbal commands and maintained possession of a firearm until after the officer’s final shot. The man’s actions during the incident, combined with the information available to the officer, were more than sufficient to establish an objectively reasonable fear of death or grievous bodily harm on the part of the officer, and to justify a use of force proportionate to that threat.

While the man sustained an injury during the arrest, his actions gave the officer reasonable cause to believe that his life was endangered; therefore, the force that he used to address that danger was also reasonable. Accordingly, there are no grounds to believe that an offence was committed by any police officer, and no charges will be laid.

ASIRT’s mandate is to effectively, independently and objectively investigate incidents involving Alberta’s police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person.

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Alberta

Alberta Fish & Wildlife Officers now responding to police emergencies upon request

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From the Province of Alberta

RAPID Response protects rural Albertans

The launch of RAPID Response on April 1 puts 140 more peace officers on guard for rural Albertans when they need help from law enforcement.

As part of the provincial government’s Rural Alberta Provincial Integrated Defence (RAPID) Response initiative, Alberta’s fish and wildlife officers are now available to help the RCMP answer emergency and high-priority calls when requested.

RAPID Response will help authorities arrive at the scene of an emergency more quickly by giving peace officers in the Alberta Sheriffs, which includes Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Services, the ability to respond to a wider range of calls.

“Rural Albertans told us loud and clear that it can take too long for help to arrive in their communities. With RAPID Response, highly trained and professional peace officers will work across rural Alberta to answer the call when police need help to save precious minutes in an emergency.”

Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

Under RAPID Response, fish and wildlife officers are able to respond to requests from the RCMP to be first at the scene of an emergency in cases where they are closer than the police. Fish and wildlife officers will also respond to RCMP requests for backup, which could involve helping the police locate suspects or preserve a crime scene.

Communications officers at the Alberta Sheriffs dispatch centre will also play a vital role in RAPID Response, by ensuring a reliable link with the RCMP when the two agencies respond to an incident together.

Preparations are also underway for members of the Sheriff Highway Patrol to perform RAPID Response functions later this year. Approximately 260 traffic sheriffs are being trained to investigate a wider range of calls, including impaired driving.

Giving traffic sheriffs the authority to handle more incidents on provincial highways will allow the RCMP to leave more officers on patrol and available to respond to higher-priority criminal matters.

RAPID Response currently covers most areas of rural Alberta policed by the RCMP. The provincial government is also holding a series of meetings with First Nations and Métis leaders to determine their interest and earn their support before expanding RAPID Response to their communities.

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