03/11/2015 05:39 EDT | Updated 05/11/2015 05:59 EDT

National Defence wants Ottawa police to guard sentries

The Department of National Defence is in discussions with the Ottawa Police Service to provide police protection for unarmed ceremonial guards in the capital, CBC News has learned.

The discussions come nearly five months after Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed while on honorary guard duty at the National War Memorial on Oct. 22.

National Defence is requesting two armed constables to guard the sentries at the National War Memorial, and possibly two more to guard those at Rideau Hall, the Governor General's residence. The constables would be armed with their standard issue handguns. 

Ottawa police Supt. Scott Nystedt said the talks are about providing security for the sentry program, which runs from April to November.

"The talks are underway for a paid duty contract for the Department of National Defence," Nystedt said. "It hasn't been signed and we're working out the details."

Col. Lionel Smith, who is responsible for the ceremonial guards, confirmed discussions are underway.

"We are always looking for measure to increase the safety and protection of our members," Smith said.

The sentries are expected to return to their posts on April 9, after the winter break.