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Sundre detachment will be getting lockboxes for firearms

The Sundre RCMP detachment has recently added a second prisoner holding cell and plans are in the works to add lockboxes for securing police firearms, says detachment commander Sgt. Percy Leipnitz.

The Sundre RCMP detachment has recently added a second prisoner holding cell and plans are in the works to add lockboxes for securing police firearms, says detachment commander Sgt. Percy Leipnitz.

There are also plans to install video surveillance cameras in all prisoner-holding areas, he said.

“We will be getting them in,” said Leipnitz. “Eventually everybody will be having that (cameras) too. Every detachment will be getting them, but it all depends on who gets them first.

“We are in the process of doing that. I don't know when it's going to be done. I'm hoping within a year, but when it happens it happens.”

A public fatality inquiry into the death of a Pincher Creek resident, Darren John Varley, in the Pincher Creek RCMP detachment in October 1999 was released last week.

RCMP Const. Michael Ferguson was convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of Varley, who died after being shot in the chest and in the head by Ferguson with his service firearm as he was being placed in a holding cell.

In his final report into the fatality, Judge D.G. Redman made a number of recommendations, including that all RCMP detachments be equipped with the firearm lockboxes and video surveillance of prisoner holding areas be installed.

Other recommendations coming out of the inquiry include the following:

• That firearms should be secured before a prisoner is removed from a police vehicle and/or prior to handcuffs being removed, and that the prisoner processing areas and detention cell areas should be firearm free, except under extenuating circumstances.

• That handcuffs should not be removed from a combative subject unless he or she has displayed rational behaviour for an extended period of time, or an assisting constable is present to facilitate control of the subject.

• That all RCMP members receive initial and ongoing training in the use and limitations of their holster given its specific design characteristics.

• That RCMP develop a policy regarding the selection, training and expectations of the jail guard position.

• That all complaints with respect to the actions of RCMP members be investigated promptly, thoroughly and in accordance with timelines. These timelines should be set by policy and although they may be flexible, they should incorporate regular interim reporting requirements.





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