May 30th, 2024

Lethbridge Police Service faces backlash over social media post


By Tim Kalinowski on October 1, 2021.

LPS photo Lethbridge police say their armoured rescue vehicle allows for a safe platform for officers to approach a location without placing themselves at further risk.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

The Lethbridge Police Service is again receiving public criticism and backlash on social media after the department posted what some perceived to be an overly militaristic image on Twitter Wednesday night, warning the public its Tactical Unit would be doing training with its armoured vehicle.
The graphic used by the police service showed an ominous looking masked and helmeted figure all in black holding an assault rifle with the message, “We appreciate your understanding and patience as our members receive training critical to ensuring the safety of all our citizens.”
Many on social media immediately began to question the appropriateness of a local community police department using an image with such an overtly militaristic tone in an official public notification such as this.
However, one Twitter user named Randy Sweeney asked a question about the training, asking: “What scenario are they training for? Also if it’s for the safety of citizens, what do we need protection from?”
To which the LPS responded, “Randy Sweeney would you rather we just hope for the best and see how that turns out?” to the seemingly straightforward question.
This response was picked up on social media alongside the image and the whole episode began trending province-wide with some criticizing the militarism implied by the image, and others picking up on what they saw as a dismissive answer to a member of the public. Others also questioned the need and purpose of such a military style vehicle in the community in the first place. Many commenters referred to other high-profile, controversial incidents the LPS has been involved with over the past few years to sharpen their criticisms.
The Lethbridge Police Service had taken the image down by Thursday, and offered apologies to those offended by the image and the reply to Sweeney.
“Based on feedback received, we’ve deleted the image previously posted and acknowledge it and an accompanying reply were inappropriate,” the LPS stated on Facebook. “The intended message of alerting the public to critical training required by our Tactical Team, however, is one which needs to be repeated.”
The Lethbridge Police Service also sent an image of the armoured vehicle in question to local media with an explanation of its type, purpose and cost of the purchase.
“The purpose of the Armoured Rescue Vehicle (ARV) is to increase safety for both police officers and the public,” a statement from the LPS reads. “The vehicles, which are basically a protective shell, are used by a number of police departments in Canada and globally. The ARV has been utilized by the Lethbridge Police Service several times since it was purchased used from Victoria Police for $8,000. Prior to that it was a Brinks armoured vehicle.”
The LPS says the vehicle is used in incidents where potential operations under fire might be needed.
“The rescue vehicle may be deployed by the Critical Incident Team during such occurrences as hostage takings, barricaded persons, active shooter situations, high risk warrants, or events where weapons – including firearms – are involved. The ARV allows for a safe platform for officers to approach a location without placing themselves at further risk. It may also be utilized for casualty care and officer/citizen rescue.”

Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter

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