Remembrance Day 2014: RCMP to send plainclothes officers to Calgary, Edmonton
1st time plainclothes officers will be assigned for Nov. 11 security
RCMP say for the first time they will embed plainclothes officers among citizens at this year's Remembrance Day ceremonies in Calgary and Edmonton.
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The decision was made after the recent killings of two soldiers in Ottawa and Quebec and the growing threat posed to Canadians from ISIS-inspired radicals.
The larger ceremonies in both cities will also see an armed contingent of RCMP guards in addition to the ceremonial officers in their red serges.
"Even though they may be armed, their focus will be on the ceremony itself. They won't be watching the crowd and [surrounding area]," said Sgt. Jeff Campbell with the RCMP in Calgary. "So we'll also have officers there in general duty uniform for members' safety and for the public's safety as well, making sure nothing happens."
Calgary police have also been told to wear their street uniforms — and carry their weapons — at this year's Remembrance Day ceremonies.
Rick Hanson, chief of the Calgary Police Service, says people in the community are worried after recent attacks and seeing police officers in uniform at the services will reassure the public.
"We want people in uniform, our officers in uniform, acknowledging the sacrifice of veterans but [also] because of the need to ensure that people understand that we're there, we're there to fulfill our jobs as police officers and not just to acknowledge the veterans."
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Office Patrice Vincent died in separate attacks by two men who RCMP say held radical Islamic beliefs.
Vincent, 53, was struck and killed by Martin Couture-Rouleau on Oct. 20 in a St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., parking lot in what CSIS described at the time as a "violent expression of an extremist ideology."
Two days later, Cirillo was killed by a lone gunman while standing guard at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa.
The gunman, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, was shot and killed shortly after making his way to Parliament Hill and getting into the Centre Block.
Hanson says no threats have been identified in Calgary, but police want to make sure the public feels safe.