RCMP recommendations will help save lives, says widow
Angela Gevaudan urges quick action on all 64 recommendations in review of Moncton shootings
The widow of one of the three RCMP officers killed during Justin Bourque's shooting rampage in Moncton, N.B., in June says the recommendations in a report released Friday will help save lives, but will require funding commitments by governments.
The 180-page report, which follows a review led by retired assistant commissioner Alphonse MacNeil, makes 64 recommendations, covering everything from weapons and training, to communications and technology.
"To me, this report is the vehicle for the changes that are needed to ensure the safety of our officers," Angela Gevaudan, widow of slain Const. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, said during a brief, emotional statement to the media.
In order to ensure the safety of the public, the officers who are charged with protecting us must also be safe.- Angela Gevaudan, widow
"We know that in order to ensure the safety of the public, the officers who are charged with protecting us must also be safe," she said, speaking on behalf of herself, as well as Rachael Ross, widow of Dave Joseph Ross, 32, and Nadine Larche, widow of Douglas James Larche, 40.
Gevaudan, who described herself as being "part of the thin blue line," having worked in policing for more than 10 years, including the past five in various departments of the Codiac RCMP detachment in Moncton, said she believes "wholeheartedly" in MacNeil's recommendations and called for them to be implemented as soon as possible.
"My hope is the June 4, 2014, incident and any subsequent incident will propel the implementation of an encrypted radio system, the lifeline of the officers. This is a high priority concern for both officer and public safety," Gevaudan said.
"Once implemented, this, along with all the other recommendations, could prove instrumental in keeping our officers safe," she said.
The RCMP said Friday all of the recommendations will be acted upon. It has already initiated a number of actions in response to the recommendations, and has committed to publicly report on the implementation status of all of them within one year, officials said.
In an emailed statement, federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Steven Blaney welcomed the report and commended MacNeil, but did not address the issue of funding.
"This review is a necessary and important step in understanding the tragic events of June 4, 2014, and learning what measures can be taken to improve the RCMP’s response in the event of similar situations," Blaney said.
"The RCMP has accepted all 64 of the review’s recommendations. Their comprehensive response to those recommendations provides a strong basis for improved practices in addressing future threats," he said.
Gevaudan also took the opportunity to call on spiritual and political leaders, teachers, parents and children to come together to promote understanding and tolerance.
"We can no longer afford to think us versus them," she said. "We are all in this together. We are all connected and what hurts me, hurts you."
As well as killing three Mounties, Bourque injured two others – constables Éric Stéphane J. Dubois and Marie Darlene Goguen.
Bourque, now 25, pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. He was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility of parole for 75 years, which is the longest period of parole ineligibility in Canadian history.