Edmonton, AB – Today, at “K” Division Headquarters in Edmonton, the Commanding Officer of the RCMP in Alberta met with reporters to discuss the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission’s (CRCC) Interim Report on its independent review of the RCMP’s emergency response during the 2013 flooding disaster in High River. Deputy Commissioner Marianne Ryan acknowledged the importance of the independent CRCC review process in situations where police actions are the subject of significant public concern. She also provided some firsthand insights into the challenges the RCMP and other first responders faced in the early days of the flood response.
“High River has already taught us some important lessons about how the extreme steps police sometimes need to take to ensure public safety can have unintended impacts on people’s lives,” said Ryan. “The Interim Report reminds us that it is not only what you do, but how your actions are perceived – especially in times of crisis.”
Ryan told reporters that an in depth review of the Interim Report’s findings is now underway and will determine if there are more things that the RCMP needs to address in the area of emergency response in Alberta. She reported that “K” Division has already taken significant steps to address recommendations in the Interim Report that are specific to the RCMP in Alberta. Since June 2013, emergency management policies related to search and rescue, and evacuations have been revised, aggressive targets have been set for employee Incident Command System training, and external communications capacity has been enhanced.
“I am pleased to report that in general, the findings speak to the heroism, dedication and professionalism demonstrated by RCMP employees in the face of an unprecedented natural disaster,” said Ryan. “I also want to thank the citizens of High River for the understanding and enduring support they have afforded the RCMP since June 2013. My hope is that they now have a clearer picture of why things happened the way they did, despite the best of intentions.”
The Alberta RCMP website provides the information released to date by “K” Division on High River, including media releases, a photo gallery and a timeline of events.
A short video entitled “Are You Ready for an Emergency Evacuation?” is now available on YouTube and on the Alberta RCMP public website.