RCMP responds to delayed emergency alert criticism in Riverview manhunt

南昌桑拿网Nova Scotia RCMP have released a statement in response to criticism over the lack of an emergency alert during the 12-hour manhunt for a suspect in the Tuesday Riverview shooting.

“It is clear there is political and public desire for police to issue emergency alerts,” read the release. “This desire manifests as demand without understanding of public safety risk or the incident.”

Janson Bryan Baker was wanted in connection with a shooting incident that occurred near Riverview High School at around 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday. A teacher at the school was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and is recovering, according to school staff.

南昌桑拿论坛Tuesday night, an emergency alert was issued in the Greater Moncton area, as RCMP officers searched for a suspect they said was reportedly carrying firearms.

Read more: New Brunswick shooting suspect arrested by N.S. RCMP
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On Wednesday at 9:37 a.m., police said the vehicle driven by 24-year-old Baker was located in Amherst, N.S., and appeared to have been abandoned.

“We continue to actively investigate leads in NB to locate him,” New Brunswick RCMP said.

Nova Scotia RCMP said in a tweet at 10:41 a.m. Wednesday that the force was “requesting an (emergency) alert be issued in relation to the search for (Janson) Bryan Baker,” which was later issued at 11:42 a.m.

“At 10:44, we received a phone call to advise that (the RCMP) may require a public alert,” Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey said in an interview with Global News on Wednesday.

It was not until 11:35 a.m. that the Emergency Management Office actually received an approved statement from police and text, “which can simply be entered into the system and hit send.”
Click to play video ‘Riverview, N.B., shooting leads to 12-hour manhunt’
2:09 Riverview, N.B., shooting leads to 12-hour manhunt
Riverview, N.B., shooting leads to 12-hour manhunt

RCMP announced Wednesday at 12:01 p.m. that New Brunswick shooting suspect Janson Bryan Baker had been arrested in Amherst, N.S., without incident and was in custody.
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Residents and politicians, particularly in the Amherst area, expressed their concerns on social media over the lack of an emergency alert when it was known an armed shooting suspect was in the area.

Suspect was arrested one block away from my office. I can’t believe it took over 3 1/2 hrs to send out emergency alert to the people of my area. Unbelievable and completely unacceptable. pic.twitter.com/RInGpmRmOI

— Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin (@MLAElizabethNS) January 6, 2021

On Thursday morning, the premier of Nova Scotia said RCMP must change how they alert the public to dangerous incidents.

Stephen McNeil made the comment as questions arose about why it took more than three hours on Wednesday for the Mounties to request a provincewide Alert Ready message to warn residents about a manhunt that spanned two provinces.

“The RCMP has an issue when it comes to whether or not they want to use emergency alerts,” the premier said after a cabinet meeting. “They need to fix their protocol.”
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Read more: N.S. premier says RCMP must improve emergency alert protocols after gunman arrested in Amherst

Furey also weighed in on Thursday, saying the RCMP must shorten the time it takes for them to prepare alert messages for distribution by the province’s Emergency Management Office. “We would like to see the times compressed as much as possible to ensure the earliest communication with the Emergency Management Office.”

Thursday afternoon, the RCMP said in a statement that police are in an “unenviable position” when it comes to deciding on when alerts are issued.

Public Statement from C/Supt. Chris Leather https://t.co/YQtPk6UoqL pic.twitter.com/ImXaBnPPYg

— RCMP, Nova Scotia (@RCMPNS) January 7, 2021

“Public statements being made without fact undermine excellent police work and solid operational decisions,” the statement read, signed by Chief Superintendent Chris Leather.
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“We know the desire for information when incidents are unfolding. We communicate publicly in real time and have been doing this very well for years.”

This is the second time N.S. RCMP have been criticized for their use of the alert system. The first was in response to the mass shooting in April 2020 that left 22 people dead.

Provincial and federal governments are conducting a joint public inquiry into the Nova Scotia shooting, part of which will examine the RCMP’s communication during and after the tragedy unfolded.