IPA Canada report on a successful Training Conference: ‘Operational Policing: Leadership & Modernization of Tactics’

08 Nov 2019


IPA Section Canada hosted a training week at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) – Pacific Region Training Centre (PRTC) in Chilliwack/Vancouver, British Columbia from August 12 to 17, 2019. While over 80 applications were received, 27 IPA members from 9 different countries attended this unique opportunity (Germany, Aruba, Cayman Islands, Ireland, UK, Iceland, Japan, USA and Canada).

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The overall theme of the Conference was “Operational Policing: Leadership & Modernization of Tactics”. The one week program was designed by IPA Canada - Region 9 member, Mike Liu. The program facilitated development of effective leadership skills in various aspects of operational policing, such as managing critical incidents and maintaining the psychological well-being of officers by increasing morale, improving retention and promoting a healthy work/life balance.

The program fostered leadership skills through practical training and understanding of principals of modern police tactics. The sessions aimed to enhance and improve the effectiveness of police operations in the various law enforcement agencies. The training program was attended by all levels of law enforcement officers including current and future leaders in police organizations.CAconf3

Upon arrival of at the airport, the attendees were greeted by a representative from the Canada Border Services Agency and an officer from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police dressed in the world-renowned “Red Serge” ceremonial uniform.

Day one began with welcome messages from IPA Canada:  Mike Liu, Chairman of the organizing committee and Superintendent Larry Montgomery, Officer in Charge of the RCMP Pacific Region Training Centre. The official opening ceremony included a traditional Sto:lo Nation blessing with drumming and songs. PRTC is situated on the traditional lands of the Sto:lo people and their greeting allowed the attendees to experience a little of Canadian culture and heritage.

The first training session was a basic field trauma workshop with lecture and practical applications. Particular focus was on the use of tourniquets as a lifesaving tool for officers.  At the end of the workshop, each attendee received a certificate and a trauma pack.  The day ended with a leadership presentation from Major General R.R. MacKenzie, Commanding Officer of the Canadian Army Reserves, who is also a Vancouver City Police Sergeant.

Day two kicked off with a very informative and philosophical presentation by police psychologist Dr Mark Davis, entitled “Strengthening your Force’s Mental Resilience”. The presentation opened discussions surrounding current philosophies regarding stress management and how to better manage post-traumatic stress, fatigue and burnout in police organizations.

The afternoon session focused on “Police Management of Critical Incidents – Initial Response”.  This brought to light new policing ideologies where frontline first-responding officers need to take initial control of a critical incident prior to the arrival of supervisors or designated incident commanders.  Various table top scenarios were presented. Teams worked on managing these situations which also enabled discussions on the different practices utilized around the world.

CAconf2Day three was filled with an exciting day of live scenario-based training and firearms.  Teams were taught and led through “active shooter” scenarios with simulation marking cartridge ammunition. Various room entry and clearing techniques were taught. In addition, participants attended the PRTC state-of-the-art indoor shooting range, where they were given the opportunity to experience various firearms used by the RCMP including a pistol, assault rifle and shotgun, a particularly fun day for officers that are not usually armed.

To take a break from training, a full day was organized with some group Esprit de Corps events and tourist activities.  A coach bus transported the group to their first stop: a visit to the RCMP Surrey Detachment, the largest RCMP detachment in Canada with approximately 800 police officers.  The IPA group was welcomed by the Senior Management Team and introduced to the various operational police units. The Surrey RCMP also organized a display of a variety of police vehicles used in Canada.

The tour continued through Vancouver with an explanation and views of some of the policing challenges in downtown Vancouver. The group was then taken for a tour of Stanley Park and the Vancouver Police Mounted Squad. The main attraction was spending a few hours at Capilano Canyon for picturesque views of the mountains, streams and rain forest.  These views were enjoyed from a 137-metre-long suspension bridge, walkway along cliffs and tree top suspension bridges.

The next day was back to training with Post-Critical Incident Scene Management.  A simulated mass casualty scene was set up, and the group learned about the importance of initial critical evidence gathering versus traditional evidence and seizure. The afternoon was again filled with excitement as participants learned modern shooting tactics in relation to the use of a vehicle and other barricades for cover.  Suited in protective gear, each attendee experienced live scenarios of being confronted with armed individuals while in a vehicle and while utilizing cover effectively.  The officers engaged with simulated marking cartridge ammunition.

The last day began with more scenario-based training which incorporated all the learning throughout the week.  Participants were put to the test with a practical course consisting of a combination of newly learned skills. To add some reality and stress, the course was timed and shooting stages were scored.  Prizes for the best times were later awarded at the closing ceremony.  To wrap up the training program, participants were taught and practiced some police defensive tactics.  The session focused on discussions and techniques to modernize their police force’s current defensive tactics programs.  This included modern police ideology of training officers based on tactical principals and gross motor skills as opposed to the traditional methods of instructing specific fine motor skill techniques.

At the closing ceremonies, all participants were awarded with completion certificates for the various workshops and for the overall IPA Canada 2019 Training Conference. 

Mike Liu, Chairman of the Organising Committee, IPA Canada