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Metro Vancouver security heightened after Ottawa shootings

10/23/2014 09:17 EDT | Updated 12/23/2014 05:59 EST
People in Metro Vancouver can expect to see more police officers and security staff at some public buildings, events and on transit after Wednesday's deadly shootings in Ottawa.

Transit Police spokesperson Anne Drennan says they did not receive any specific threat, but commuters will likely notice more officers at stations, along with police dogs.

"It's impossible to say right now just how long," Drennan said.  

"We will base our decisions on information received from authorities, the RCMP in particular, of course, as to what is actually going on.

"I would expect that you are going to see a heightened presence probably [Wednesday] and [Thursday]," said Drennan.

"Beyond that depends on the status in Ottawa," she said.

Drennan says police are encouraging anyone who sees something suspicious to contact them.

Extra security at Vancouver city facilities

The Vancouver Police Department says while there is no specific threat to the city or the province, its officers remain vigilant and are asking the public to report anything suspicious as well.

"The VPD maintains strong relationships with security partners such as the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to ensure the safety of those in Vancouver," said Sgt. Randy Fincham in an email.

"Our officers continue to develop plans and train for events that could take place in the city of Vancouver that may jeopardize the safety and security of those who live, work and play in the city.”

After CBC News confirmed the Ottawa shooting suspect, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, was charged with robbery in Vancouver in 2011, the VPD referred questions to other police agencies.

"The Vancouver Police Department along with the B.C. RCMP are working together to assist an Ottawa City Police and RCMP National Security investigation," wrote Sgt. Fincham.  "Due to the ongoing investigation, there is little information we can share at this time."

In an email to Vancouver city staff, city manager Penny Ballem said extra contract security patrols were put in place for various city facilities and will remain in place," until the situation stabilizes."

Heightened vigilance on BC Ferries

BC Ferries says it has been speaking with Transport Canada, its federal regulator, as well as the RCMP, but the security alert level remains low.

"We are heightening the vigilance of our monitoring on board and we will take our cue from Transport Canada," says spokesperson Deborah Marshall.

"We have asked our employees to be more vigilant in monitoring the ships and terminals, as well as our facilities...obviously that will be ongoing," she said. 

Increased security at Remembrance Day

Organizers of Vancouver's Remembrance Day ceremonies say there will be increased security after the Ottawa shootings.

"First of all, we can't take this situation lightly," said Cam Cathcart, the chair of the Vancouver Remembrance Day Committee.

He stresses the November 11 ceremony and parade will continue, but plans have been turned over to Vancouver Police to see if extra security will be needed at Victory Square.

"Once that review is done, we'll look at their review and their conclusions and then we'll proceed accordingly," Cathcart said.

Inge Kruse, the executive director for B.C. and Yukon of the Royal Canadian Legion, says they will also review their security procedures. 

She calls the shootings devastating and leaves one more fallen soldier to remember next month.

"Remember that they're just not safe on home turf and when they serve overseas."said Kruse.

Security Measures Depend on Shooter's Motive

André Gerolymatus, a terrorism and security expert at Simon Fraser University, says security increases locally and nationally will depend on the motive of the shooter.

"If he's part of an organization or inspired by a jihadist, we'll see a lot more security across the country," Gerolymatus said.

"If he's a deranged individual with a beef against the military, we'll see a lot more security at Canadian Forces bases."

In either case, Gerolymatus says he expects a lot more security on Parliament Hill.

Speaking to MLAs on Wednesday, B.C. Premier Christy Clark said there would now be a full review of security at the B.C. Legislature.

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