Canadian police forces bulk up with armoured vehicles

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[Harper's government is always trying to out-US the US. *RON*]

By Douglas Quan, Postmedia News / The Phoenix Star, 22 August 2014

Canadian police officials defend their acquisitions of armoured vehicles, amid concerns of 'militarization.' Photograph by: Graham Hughes, The Canadian Press Files , Postmedia News
Growing numbers of Canadian police agencies in recent years have added armoured vehicles to their crime-fighting arsenals.

Several are retired military combat vehicles that have been donated by the Canadian Forces.

Other police agencies have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase custom-built armoured trucks from private specialty builders.

Scenes of heavily armed and armoured police clashing with protesters in Ferguson, Missouri have sparked discussions on both sides of the border about "creeping militarization" of police.

But Canadian police officials this week defended their acquisitions.

RCMP policy states that armoured vehicles are to be used by emergency response team members only during "critical incidents" and "should not be deployed or used for crowd control.""It's just providing the basic tool that members need to do their job and protect the public," Byron Boucher, an RCMP assistant commissioner, said.

The Saskatoon and Ottawa police services spent about $365,000 each in recent years on armoured vehicles, called BearCats, from Lenco Armored Vehicles.

Saskatoon police spokeswoman Alyson Edwards said the vehicle was used earlier this year by the agency's tactical unit to roll up to a house where a man had barricaded himself inside and was firing shots in different directions. A crisis negotiator talked the person out after 13 hours.

Michael Spratt, an Ottawa criminal lawyer, said the money spent on these vehicles would be better used for crime prevention. "I'd rather have a mental health crisis worker or a social worker on the street every day than a BearCat in the garage."

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