At a time when mass shootings are becoming a global phenomenon, police officers from nine different countries were in Chilliwack this week, sharing tactics and building leadership skills that they’ll take home to their fellow officers.
They were members of the International Police Association – the largest police association in the world, boasting 450,000 members from more than 65 countries.
The RCMP’s Pacific Regional Training Centre hosted 27 of those delegates this week, coming from countries as diverse as Iceland, Germany, Japan and Aruba.
It was an opportunity, said IPA-Canada representative RCMP Staff Sgt. Mike Liu, to share ideas, learn new skills, and develop bonds that go beyond borders.
Offering both classroom and hands-on workshops, the program’s focus was on leadership and the modernization of training tactics.
Scenarios included active-shooter situations where officers were armed with modified weapons almost exactly like the guns they would carry in the field.
But the training wasn’t just about shooting, said Liu. A major component included ways to de-escalate a dangerous situation in an effective and respectful manner.
For Germany’s Philipp Kruz, the training offered an excellent opportunity to learn from each other, to share best practices and take those lessons back to each delegate’s own department.
“No matter what country you’re from, you’re facing the same challenges,” said Kruz, an 18-year veteran who trains frontline officers in the city of Munster.
Jonathan Kern, an officer with the Royal Cayman Police Service, echoed that point.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to learn what our brothers and sisters are doing in other law enforcement agencies around the world,” he said, “and how we can take that back and improve our own police service, improve our own communities and improve globally.”
This was the first time Canada has hosted an IPA training event.
Supt. Larry Montgomery, the PRTC’s Officer-in-Charge of Training Services, said the event allowed the centre to showcase the world-class training it provides.
“The RCMP Pacific Regional Training Centre is a modern training facility with access to exceptionally trained instructors who daily deliver leading-edge public safety for training and tactics to the B.C. RCMP,” he said. “Sharing our facilities and training programs with delegates from various countries from around the world is yet another example of the RCMP’s leadership in public service excellence.”