‘Your adrenaline is up because you have no idea what’s going to happen next.’
Chief Brad MacConnell of the Charlottetown Police Department is confident that his department’s new tactical response unit will save lives.
He stated that the purpose of the unit is to deploy less lethal options to de-escalate critical situations in order to improve outcomes for all parties involved, including the cops.
The Priority Tactical Response and Containment Team has already been deployed, despite the fact that it has only been in operation for a little over a year.
The tactical squad was put through its monthly training at the Prince Edward Island Firefighting School in Miltonvale Park, west of Charlottetown, earlier this month, and CBC News spent the afternoon with them.
“If you look at the sad occurrences that occurred in Fredericton and Moncton, we’ve learnt the lessons from them,” MacConnell said. “We want to make sure that when our officers respond to circumstances that can happen in a matter of seconds, they are tactically and equipment-wise prepared to deal with them.”
‘Less lethal options’
The highly trained eight-member team responds to high-risk calls, such as those involving guns, drugs, or high-risk searches.
Every shift has two people on it. They are distinguished from the other officers by their clothing, which is more akin to a military uniform.
When the tactical unit was founded in the spring of 2021, Const. Michael Chaloner, a 15-year veteran of Charlottetown Police Services, joined.
Officers now have more tools to deal with dangerous circumstances, according to Chaloner, than they had before the tactical team was formed.
“With the tools, we have now, we can use various, less-lethal options to bring things to a safe conclusion for the person we’re dealing with, ourselves, and the community,” Chaloner said.
Officers on Chaloner’s squad must always be on high alert, according to Chaloner, because instances in neighbouring provinces have shown that major crises may occur in little towns like Charlottetown.
‘It has the potential to spoil the suspect’s day.’
“Your adrenaline is pumping because you have no idea what’s going to happen, but you’re hoping that with all of your preparation and effort, you’ll be able to manage the situation sufficiently to have it turn out the way you want it to. Of course, you’re always prepared for the possibility that things won’t work out, but you do your best.”