Edmonton

Edmonton police unveil new $500K armoured vehicle

Edmonton police invited the media to take a look at their newly purchased $500,000 armoured vehicle along with a $370,000 truck that will be used as a mobile command post.

Toronto and Calgary are the only other two Canadian cities that have more than one armoured police vehicle. 

The new Cambli Black Wolf, purchased by EPS for $500,000. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

The Edmonton Police Service unveiled a newly purchased $500,000 armoured vehicle Wednesday, along with a $370,000 truck that will be used as a mobile command post. 

The brand new Cambli Black Wolf will be used along with another armoured vehicle that was purchased in 2013 for $315,000. 

The new model is expected to be operational by next week. 

Toronto and Calgary are the only other two Canadian cities that have more than one armoured police vehicle. 

The $370,000 truck will be used as a mobile command centre by EPS. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

"I believe the public wants a very professional and well-equipped police service and we take that very seriously," Supt. Dean Hilton said on Wednesday afternoon from the compound that stores all the police tactical and armoured vehicles. 

EPS also unveiled a new $370,000 large truck that will be used as a mobile action centre. It was bought to replace the previous model that was purchased in 1999. The new vehicle will serve as a command post for operations like missing person searches and is equipped with an interview room, washroom, wireless internet and television screens. 

"We would hope that the public would support us and the fact that these specific types of equipment will help us maintain the safety of our citizens," Hilton said. 

The Edmonton Police Service unveiled some expensive new equipment Wednesday, but defence lawyer Tom Engel called the news conference "an exercise in propaganda" 1:47

The head of the EPS tactical unit told reporters he believes it's money well spent, especially when the new vehicles are expected to have a 20-year lifespan. 

"We can't put a price on life," Sgt. Rick Abbott said. "Without the proper tools, things get more dangerous and we can't respond as quickly." 

Abbott said he understands not everyone will approve of the big-ticket purchases. 

"I understand there's a view in society right now that wonders why we'd have kit like this," Abbott said. "It does look aggressive. But the reality is we can't get involved in politics in my job. We're too busy trying to keep Edmontonians safe." 

Sgt. Rick Abbott says the new armoured vehicle will make his officers and citizens safer. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

Abbott also showed off carbines and sniper rifles used by officers, while another member displayed the EPS fleet of drones. Currently, there are 10 drones in use and another one will arrive by the end of 2020. 

One of the drones used by EPS. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

'An exercise in propaganda' 

Criminal defence lawyer Tom Engel was critical of the police's news conference with big-ticket items.

"I just hope that the public isn't going to be dazzled by this display and think the expenses for all this equipment is going to be justified on a cost-benefit analysis," Engel said. "I think it's an exercise in propaganda to try to justify all these expensive military toys they've purchased over the years."

Engel criticized the police commission and city council for what he called "rubber-stamping" police requests over the years. 

"I think the EPS has just been spending like drunken sailors and there's been no oversight of that," Engel said. "If they have these requests granted so easily, it's kind of hard to resist asking for them. But our oversight body — city council and the police commission — have to put a stop to it." 

Criminal defence lawyer Tom Engel calls the EPS news conference "an exercise in propaganda." (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

Engel wants police to provide a total budget that includes long-term projected operating, training and maintenance costs of the new purchases. He said he'd also like to see an overall budget for the tactical, canine and bomb disposal units. 

"I think Edmontonians deserve that and they have a right to have their police commission do that," Engel said. 

About the Author

Janice Johnston is an award-winning journalist in Edmonton who has covered the courts and crime for more than two decades. You can reach her at janice.johnston@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @cbcjanjohnston

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now