Red Deer’s top cop recently returned from two major Canadian events, both of which he said he was proud to be a part of.
Red Deer city RCMP Supt. Brian Simpson was part of the security team at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver earlier this year and more recently at the G8 and G20 Summits held in Ontario.
He spoke about his experiences at both events at this week’s Downtown Rotary Club meeting.
“They differed in being that one was a sporting event venue and one was where world leaders were gathered and their security was paramount,” said Simpson, who has 28 years services with the RCMP.
He said at the Olympics, a lot of security work went on behind the scenes to ensure the safety of athletes and spectators alike.
“There were 6,000 security personnel deployed for the Olympics,” said Simpson. “As a country we have an obligation and responsibility to see the safety of all of those athletes.”
He added at the Olympics there were never any serious threats and the risk assessment of security was low.
At the G8 Summit which was held at the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ont. and the G20 Summit which was held in Toronto, 20,000 security personnel were deployed.
“This was the largest security undertaking in Canada in the last 32 years,” said Simpson. “Both the G8 and G20 events required the same level of security. Obviously there were more issues in Toronto relative to what there were in Huntsville but nonetheless there is still a requirement to have that security.”
He added at the G8 and G20 Summits, security knew there would be protests.
“They were expected and appreciated,” said Simpson. “But the bottom line was that this was Canada and we are a sovereign country and we had to demonstrate that. There were people there that wanted to disrupt and cause problems. It’s challenging in terms of dealing with it.
“Unfortunately a few minorities wrecked it for the majority. But in the end no one got hurt and that’s huge.”
For the 2010 Winter Olympics, 26 officers from Red Deer city RCMP served as security while 28 officers from the City were sent to the G8 and G20 Summits.
Simpson said he is grateful to be part of both the Olympics and the G8 and G20 Summits on the security side.
“It’s great to see what this country has in terms of policing services and standards,” he said. “The ability for the police, Canadian forces and government agencies to come together and integrate and work as a team to provide safety and security for Canadians is a great thing. Very few countries can do that. It is a big kudos of what Canada has to offering in terms of its policing environment.”
Simpson added he has respect for the security teams at both the Olympics and the G8 and G20 Summits.
“It’s not easy. They are taken away from their homes and their regular duties. They are subject to a lot of environmental issues, they’re moved around on buses and the work itself can go from sheer boredom to very tumultuous very quickly,” said Simpson. “But they’re all professionals, they’re on the front lines, they’re dealing with a lot of the issues and they did a great job overall.”