Anger in High River as residents grill RCMP on gun seizures
Compensation must be paid for damaged homes, says Wildrose Party Leader Danielle Smith
There were tense moments at a meeting in High River Thursday night as angry residents confronted members of the RCMP over forced entries and gun seizures during June’s flood emergency.
About 300 people came to the meeting at the Highwood High School, which was organized by local MLA and Wildrose Party Leader Danielle Smith.
With the town under an evacuation order, RCMP went house to house, breaking down doors as they searched for victims of the flooding. Officers also took firearms that had been left out in plain view, officials said at the time.
Hundreds of weapons were taken to the High River detachment.
The seizures angered many residents and prompted the Prime Minister’s Office to demand that the RCMP give the firearms back to their owners as soon as possible.
Smith said two months later, homeowners still want to know who will pay for the damage.
"The RCMP are contracted to the provincial government. If the RCMP doesn't have the money to pay for this, the premier's going to have to come up with compensation," Smith said.
Resident Leslie Alexander said Mounties knocked down three doors at her house, even though two of them were unlocked.
"I thought I lived in a free country. What this whole flood taught me is that I don't," she said.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Ian Shardlow said he understands the frustration with the delay in an official response but promises their complaints are being taken seriously.
"It is difficult for me as well. But we're going to help you as best we can," he said.
In July, the head of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP said a probe has been launched into the matter.
Shardlow said of the 1,900 complaints filed so far, about 500 have been forwarded to senior officials.