PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. - The mayor of a northern Saskatchewan city is pushing for front-line police officers to be armed with carbines.
The Prince Albert Board of Police Commissioners has unanimously approved a motion to have Mayor Greg Dionne (DEE'-awn) lead a campaign to get the guns for police services around the province.
A carbine is a high-powered weapon with an accuracy similar to a rifle, but is shorter-barrelled and has no telescopic sight.
Dionne says it’s important that police officers are given the right equipment to do their job.
Officers are currently allowed to have a handgun, a shotgun and a rifle.
The Saskatchewan Police Commission would have to approve carbines before police would have access to them.
Rick Peach, executive director of the police commission, has said he isn’t prepared to comment at this time.
But Prince Albert police Chief Troy Cooper says he’s confident the police commission is supportive of the move.
Right now, carbines are used by tactical SWAT team members, but aren’t available to front-line officers.
Dionne says the shotguns police now have don't work as backup weapons as evidenced, he says, in the shooting deaths of three RCMP officers in New Brunswick last year.
One of the recommendations in a report on the shootings is that carbines should be available to front-line RCMP officers.
“When people hear about the Moncton report, carbines really would have made a difference, and I really do believe after reading the report … I do believe that they would have saved lives," he said.
Dionne said the move to arm front-line officers in Prince Albert with carbines has been in the works since the Moncton shootings.
Cooper said one of his primary concerns is for the safety of the service’s members whose mission is to protect the public.
“And in both those cases, the carbine will do a better job than the current equipment that we have," said Cooper. "We have it, it’s available, we have professionally trained staff.
"I’m not sure why we wouldn’t do it. It’s an opportunity for us to make sure that everyone is safer and that we have the tools in the hands of the people who need it to do the job.”