VPD defends use of tactical response recruitment video

Mar 4 2022, 6:55 pm

The Vancouver Police Department issued a series of tweets Friday morning defending its use of a recruitment video showing heavily armed officers performing tactical responses.

The force initially posted the video on Tuesday, but took it down and apologized hours later after facing criticism over the images and questions about what kind of recruits it’s looking for.

“Some people may have been triggered by images of police officers in tactical gear, but it’s important for everyone to understand the work VPD does to keep Vancouver safe,” the force said.

From there, VPD went on to say tactical officers trained to respond in emergencies are key parts of the force’s role in the city.

“ERS, which includes K9 and crisis negotiators, is a vital resource in today’s reality of policing,” VPD said. “Anyone who says otherwise is mistaken.”

Kidnappings, hostage situations, high-risk warrants, and calls involving bombs and weapons are all instances when a tactical response is required, VPD said. The force also gave several examples of recent calls it has dealt with.

Earlier this week, technicians diffused a suspicious package left near the Canada Line station in Marpole.

A convicted sex offender classified as high-risk was also spotted in someone’s backyard in East Vancouver. They tried to run but were caught by a K9 unit and taken to jail.

VPD also shared a story of a man experiencing a mental health crisis who barricaded himself in a room armed with a pipe with nails sticking out of it, apparently threatening to kill anyone who came in.

“ERS safely entered the room and apprehended him without harm,” VPD said. Police did not say why he was arrested.

“Policing is a sometimes dangerous but ultimately rewarding job,” VPD said. “Anyone who wants to become a police officer needs to know what opportunities await, and what may be expected of them.”

The force also released four other recruitment videos highlighting other areas of policing.

However, not all Twitter users agreed with the VPD’s take on things — and say the force shouldn’t have highlighted the militarized side of policing amid discussions to defund forces and prevent unnecessary brutality that disproportionately impacts marginalized communities.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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