Quebec police officers safe in Haiti
Officers ready to help rebuild
Most of the dozens of police officers from Quebec working in Haiti have been accounted for and are safe following this week's devastating earthquake, officials said Wednesday.
Should it be necessary, additional officers are ready to deploy to help, officials said.
Forty-two Montreal police officers, 23 provincial police officers and five officers from the Quebec City police force have been contacted.
Three of the 83 RCMP officers working in Haiti remain unaccounted for, officials said.
The officers are part of the UN mission in the country, and are providing training and support to the Haitian national police.
Francois Gingras, assistant to Quebec City’s police chief, said he is relieved to hear that his colleagues in Haiti are safe.
But the images of devastation coming out of the Caribbean country are disheartening for the officer, who served on the international mission there in the late 90s, and again in 2006 and 2007.
"Even though it wasn’t prosperous, [Haiti] was on the road to redevelopment," Gingras said.
The officers from Quebec City will remain in their current locations for the time being, but will likely be redeployed to help in relief efforts, Gingras said.
Officers ready to deploy
Gingras said he and several other officers who have already served in Haiti have already offered to return there if necessary.
Montreal police have another 50 officers ready to lend a hand, said Cmdr. Jean-Ernest Celestin.
Montreal police currently working outside the capital of Port-au-Prince will likely remain in outlying regions for now, because it is too dangerous to travel, he said.
"What were doing right now is regrouping in Haiti all the police officers, and to figure out how we can go and help the community," Celestin said.
It will be up to the RCMP, which is leading the Canadian police mission in Haiti, to decide whether additional officers will be deployed.
Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon has promised aid to Haiti and said Canada is deploying its Disaster Assistance Response Team to help.