News / Winnipeg

Winnipeg police to step up security following Las Vegas, Edmonton attacks

The Winnipeg Police Service is expected to introduce new products this year.

People gather for a vigil to stand together in solidarity against violence after a terrorist incident in Edmonton, Alta., on Sunday, October 1, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Jason Franson / The Canadian Press

People gather for a vigil to stand together in solidarity against violence after a terrorist incident in Edmonton, Alta., on Sunday, October 1, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Winnipeg police are looking at beefing up security measures for large-scale events, following two separate attacks in Edmonton and Las Vegas this weekend.

“Our agency, along with other agencies, are certainly preparing through training, preparing through equipment,” said Gord Perrier, deputy chief of operations for the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS).

On Saturday night, a driver ran down a police officer and four pedestrians near the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton during a football game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Eskimos. Such vehicular assaults have prompted the WPS to look at mobile barricades for special events in the city, Perrier said.

“We expect to introduce some new products probably this year… [mobile barricades will] assist police in blocking areas that there is no vehicle access or we don’t want vehicle access,” he said. “I think there’s going to be a lot more emphasis on public events by everybody involved, particularly venue organizers, or police, security professionals.”

In recent years, the police have equipped front-line front-line officers with semi-automatic carbine rifles and an armoured vehicle.

In the aftermath of any attack – like the mass shooting at a Las Vegas country festival that killed more than 50 people Sunday – Perrier said the WPS collects information and looks for “learning opportunities.”

“No one or no commander, or police service or health agency, for that matter, looks at an event after and says ‘everything went perfectly, there’s no gaps,’” Perrier said.

“There’s lots of information and rich conversation and there’s always things that can change.”  

The Winnipeg Jets are playing their first home game of the season Wednesday and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are playing at Investors Group Field on Friday. Perrier said WPS members have already undergone training exercises at those facilities, and they have already adjusted resources to respond to threats that could potentially occur.

“Most importantly, we need to be realistic about what is the threat level, is there a specific threat?”

“That’s how we spend a lot of our time, dissecting that and what is an appropriate response. Also, you may see things following certain events, but it’s what you don’t see as well,” Perrier said.  

With files from the Canadian Press

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