Nova Scotia RCMP progress update on recommendations from Mass Casualty Commission Final Report

March 27, 2024
Millbrook, Nova Scotia


Today, RCMP Commissioner Mike Duheme and Assistant Commissioner Dennis Daley, Commanding Officer of the Nova Scotia RCMP, delivered an update on the RCMP's progress on recommendations from the Mass Casualty Commission Final Report.

A/Comm. Daley's remarks are below.

For more information on how the RCMP is implementing the Mass Casualty Commission's recommendations, and to read a copy of Taking Action: The RCMP's Strategy to Implementing Mass Casualty Commission Final Report Recommendations, please visit: RCMP response to the Mass Casualty Commission.


– Check against delivery –

Thank you, Commissioner.

Good morning. As Commissioner Duheme noted, I'm Dennis Daley, the Commanding Officer of the Nova Scotia RCMP. Thank you for being here.

I appreciate the opportunity to outline some of the changes we've made and will continue to make to improve our service to Nova Scotians and help create stronger, safer communities.

I've touched on some of this work in previous media interviews and spoken about it with partners and stakeholders, including the Progress Monitoring Committee. My intent today is to summarize key changes in critical incident response, public communications, situational awareness, intimate partner violence, and employee wellness – all topics addressed in the Mass Casualty Commission's final report.

Our Division has been making changes and improvements in the time since the April 2020 incidents. We fully recognize that while we can't change what happened in 2020, we can learn from it.

To be the police service Nova Scotians expect of us – and we expect of ourselves – we must constantly examine our work, learn from it, and make the important changes that need to be made. This is what we've been doing, and this is what we'll continue to do.

In the area of critical incident response, we've revised operational policy and procedures to improve the transition of command, ensure clarity around decision-making, and enhance training. With funding from the Province of Nova Scotia, we've also increased the size of our Emergency Response Team to be a full-time 18-person unit.

We've worked with our partners in the government and private sectors to ensure that when air support is needed, it's available.

We've established an Operational Communications Centre with the most advanced equipment and highly trained operators in the country.

And located beside the Operational Communications Centre is our Critical Incident Operations Room. This is a command post where the Critical Incident Commander, leads of the Emergency Response and Crisis Negotiation Teams, and dedicated senior police dispatcher are located – with full awareness of the incident and police officer locations.

We now activate a Strategic Communications resource at the outset of a critical incident too.

And we've increased opportunities to conduct and participate in training exercises with our policing partners and other agencies. These exercises strengthen not only our interoperability, but our relationships as well.

I mentioned that strategic communications is now a standard part of our critical incident deployment. We've also made additional changes to public communications, paramount among those is use of the Alert Ready public alerting system.

The RCMP in Nova Scotia has direct access to issue emergency alerts in a critical incident, and has issued 24 alerts since being granted this access in August 2021.

To support responsible, effective use of the system, we've established a divisional alerting policy, a robust training model and, after each incident for which an alert has been issued, we submit an after-action report to Nova Scotia Emergency Management.

The ability for responding police officers to know the locations of their fellow responding officers and for commanders to know the locations of all who are responding – what we refer to as situational awareness – is another key aspect of keeping people safe in a critical incident. It was also an area of focus for the Mass Casualty Commission.

We have overhauled our training on Trunk Mobile Radios, which is now mandatory, easier for officers to access, and incorporated into our annual training schedule. This ensures all officers are fully able to use the radios in any scenario they face.

The Commissioner referenced Blue Force Tracking. This technology allows for officers' exact locations to be identified and tracked in the Operational Communications Centre and the command post. This technology has been fully implemented in our Division, as has mapping software – increasing awareness of the situation and officer and public safety as a result.

With regard to intimate partner violence, our efforts have focused on working with multiple agencies at many levels to advance stronger, more supportive programs and services for survivors and their families.

Our victim services team is leading, or participating in, provincial working and task groups, which include service providers from across Nova Scotia on topics including coercive control; high-risk case conferencing; information sharing; mandatory arrest and charge; intimate partner violence alarm management; and case conferencing models, among others.

These are the collaborative, complex discussions that will result in the fundamental changes the Mass Casualty Commission called for – the changes that improve the lives of survivors and their families, and help make our communities stronger and safer.

While our focus is on working with others, specific to our Division, we've taken steps to increase the number of intimate partner violence investigators and case coordinators as well.

Our efforts to address the Mass Casualty Commission recommendations with the goals of preventing crime and creating stronger, safer communities, also includes continuing to build and foster relationships with our partners in policing, public safety, community services, health, and with community leaders.

We're making progress in this area. The number of multi-agency, multi-disciplinary initiatives we're participating in is growing, as is our outreach in communities, including African Nova Scotian communities and First Nations, at every level. And there's the collaborative work on intimate partner violence that I referenced moments ago.

The recommendations also call for us to do a better job of supporting our employees.

In Nova Scotia, we've increased wellness supports and improved mental health screening. This, along with our aggressive recruitment and retention efforts, is what will keep police officers on the front line and all employees working together to serve and protect Nova Scotians.

We've learned from the April 2020 incidents and we're making the important changes that need to be made to protect public safety and create stronger, safer communities.

Thank you.


Contact information

Cpl. Guillaume Tremblay
Public Information Officer
Nova Scotia RCMP

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