HUB Mall shooting low point of 2012, says police chief
Knecht says proper police training prevented more deaths after armed robbery
Edmonton’s police chief says 2012 was a year marked by too many shootings in our city - including the triple homicide during an armed robbery at the University of Alberta.
"It was a terrible thing for the families and the survivors and as well as our members. The scene was quite traumatic for them," said Rod Knecht.
Three guards were killed while making a cash delivery to one of the ATMS in HUB Mall, allegedly shot by another employee of the security company where they worked.
A fourth guard survived and is now recovering.
Knecht considers it the low point of 2012 - but says he’s proud of the way his officers responded to the call, and believes if it hadn’t been for proper police training, the other guard would not have survived.
"Active shooter protocol. So rather than waiting outside history has told us - best practices and lessons learned has told us that we shouldn't be waiting outside," he said.
"And a lot of it we have to attribute to him. His strength ... and the fact that he called out and guided our folks appropriately to the location. We were able to get him out very, very quickly."
As for the high point of the year, Knecht says he is proud of the way officers used the Christmas season to build stronger ties with the community.
"Our homicide folks went around and gathered a bunch of money from everybody. One of the guys dressed up like Santa Claus and delivered a bunch of presents to some needy kids.
And then the west division folks - again, a family that was in dire need. [They] collected furniture, clothing, all kinds of things and completely furnished a house for a needy family."
Police morale top priority in 2013
Knecht says the EPS faces a challenging year in 2013, especially when it comes to its budget.
Edmonton city council recently rejected a $6.5 million increase that the force wanted.
"I understand. The city's got a lot on the go. Doing a lot of things and we want to be an equal partner in all of that. And we want to participate and we'll share in the pain like everybody else," he said.
"We were pretty confident we were asking for the right things. We were asking for the right things, but we'll be back again next year."
Knecht says building relations and keeping police morale up top his list of priorities going into 2013.
"I think if you have a happy police service, I think if your police officers are well...they're well trained, they're well equipped, that reflects in the way they respond to the community.
They'll treat the community better and they'll do better investigations and at the end of the day the community's the beneficiary of a healthy and well trained police service. "
Knecht is a third of his way through his contract with the police.
In 2016 he'll have the option for a 2 year extension.