Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/6/2019 (348 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg police rolled out their armoured response vehicle 78 times in 2018 — but 18 of those were to showcase it at elementary schools and charity events.
A report compiled last month by Winnipeg Police Service Chief Danny Smyth — to be submitted at Friday's Winnipeg Police Board meeting — says the Terradyne Armored Vehicles-made Gurkha was purchased in 2016, for use when officers are "dealing with potentially volatile and violent situations."
According to the report, the vehicle is mostly used by the WPS tactical support team during "both planned and unplanned situations where firearms or other dangerous weapons are thought to be present."
Of the 34 times the ARV went out with the tactical support team last year, eight were connected to active firearm events — including one last November when the vehicle was shot at several times, but officers were safe inside "from grievous harm or death."
The vehicle was out on the street for 21 warrant executions (most where either an individual was known or believed to own firearms), four domestic violence events, and once for a reported abduction.
The report says the vehicle also went out 18 times for "community engagement events," including Cops for Kids, the WPS Half Marathon, Manitoba Down Syndrome Society event Walk with Me, and Springs Church Car Show.
"Several police members have relayed that citizens appreciate having the opportunity to see the vehicle and discuss its role in providing a safer outcome to firearm events in Winnipeg," the chief wrote.
The vehicle was purchased by the WPS 2016, at a cost of $343,000.
Todd MacKay of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said the group has no problem with the police possessing an armoured response vehicle — as long as the public knows how much it costs and why police need it.
"We want our police to be safe," MacKay said. "They have a tough and dangerous job.
"We want to make sure they get home safe to their families. But we also want to make sure the dollars that pay the cost for this safety is transparent and accountable."
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.