I know that the entrance of this vehicle may have seemed a bit dramatic, but we’re here to introduce you to a dramatically different piece of police equipment.

For many years, the VPD has recognized the need for a vehicle that could be used to get officers safely into and citizens safely out of hazardous situations. This impressive Armoured Rescue Vehicle will perform that function.

One of the reasons we have not had a vehicle like this before is that it has a hefty price tag of about $350,000. It has never been within our budget.

The Vancouver Police Foundation helped us find the money. The Foundation raised over $250,000 from the public and Foundation members, and the remainder came from the City of Vancouver. We have two representatives with us today from the Foundation – Peter Armstrong, who is the chair of the Foundation and one of its greatest champions, and Valerie Maclean, the Executive Director. I want to take this opportunity to thank you both and the Foundation for your dedication and commitment to a safer Vancouver.
I predict the ARV will prove its value many times over in the coming years.
Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Victoria and the RCMP already have or are in the process of acquiring such vehicles. These vehicles range from purpose built armoured rescue vehicles to specialized military vehicles.

In a natural disaster when conditions make roads and access impassable for regular police vehicles, the ARV will be our lifeline.

Its uses are many.

The ARV is an “effective tool” when dealing with the highest risk situations involving the most motivated and dangerous offenders. The primary purpose of the ARV is to provide support in removing an injured or trapped citizen or police officer from a position of extreme jeopardy without creating any further peril to the officers tasked with the mission. The ARV would safely transport the rescuing officers to the necessary location, act as a barrier from harm as citizens or officers are placed inside, and then transport people to either medical attention or a safe location away from the critical incident.

The following are specific examples where the ARV would have been invaluable in circumstances as described above:

On December 1, 2008, police responded to an active shooter at 40 East 5th Avenue. Inside, a disgruntled employee had taken a shotgun to the office Christmas party, killing his former boss and holding the rest of the staff hostage as he dialled 911 to report what he had done.  Eventually, police were able to negotiate the man’s peaceful surrender.  In this situation, the ARV could have transported citizens away from the danger area and brought police closer to the address without concern for their safety.

On July 12, 2005, members of the Emergency Response Team (ERT) responded to a call of a deranged man, armed with a sawed off shotgun on the Lions Gate Bridge.Risking their lives, the ERT members moved close to stop pedestrians, who unknowingly were walking directly into the scene well within the range of the shotgun.  During the stand-off, the man both fired his weapon over the guardrail and passed the barrel across the officers’ location.  In this situation, the ARV would have provided a safe haven for both the citizens on the bridge as well as the responding officers.

Secondarily, the ARV is an excellent resource when affecting arrests or performing warrant services where the suspects are known to be in possession of high calibre weapons and are potentially prepared to “do battle” or protect their criminal interests at any cost.  In these situations, the ARV gives the police another edge by acting as a deterrent to anyone contemplating violent action against the police. The ARV would allow police to get within close proximity of a target location instead of having to come in on foot, act as a barrier to any vehicle trying to flee the scene, be readily accessible in case of an injury to an officer or citizen, function as a safe holding area for any innocent occupants found inside an unsecured target location, and act as protective cover for police while negotiating peaceful surrender.

The following are specific examples where the ARV would have been invaluable in circumstances as described above:

During Project Rebellion, ERT members were tasked on several occasions with arresting high level criminals from their residential strongholds who were known to possess high calibre weapons and had expressed intent to “not go quietly.”  When performing these arrests, ERT members had to use regular police vehicles as barriers between the suspects in the target locations and the rest of the citizens who lived in the neighbourhood, while trying to negotiate known armed individuals out of their houses to be arrested. Regular police vehicles provide extremely limited ballistic protection in these situations and would be easily disabled should they be hit by fire from a weapon. In this situation, the ARV would have provided an excellent barrier for the citizens, as well as a proper position for ERT members to operate more effectively and safely.

In kidnapping situations such as the one involving Graham McMynn, the ARV would have and will function as a sanctuary for anyone in such a scenario, whereby once found they can be placed in the ARV as a safe haven while police personnel can secure a known or unknown area of danger.

We’re very pleased to add this vehicle to our fleet.