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Kelowna RCMP 'recruits training recruits'

December 01, 2012 - 12:29 PM

UPDATE:  4:30 p.m. Nov. 30 

A police expert in the use of force says the high-risk RCMP arrest of Buddy Tavares showed little leadership and criticized how RCMP recruits are being trained.
Sgt. Jeremy Lane had already told the court that Const. Geoff Mantler was out of line when he kicked Buddy Tavares. But then he was asked about RCMP training and said RCMP recruits spend much of their three-month, in-the-field apprenticeship with trainers who have barely more experience than they do.
Defence lawyer Neville McDougall—a former RCMP officer himself— asked Lane whether he was concerned that recruits are trained by officers with just 12 to 18 months' experience themselves. Lane agreed when McDougall said it's like a recruit training a recruit.
"Does it concern me?" Lane said. "Yes, a great deal."
McDougall raised the lack of training for RCMP officers in high-risk calls, such as the one on Jan. 7, 2011, the day Mantler was videotaped kicking Buddy Tavares in the head during an arrest. Lane said the kick was not justified under the circumstances. He said Mantler had better options if he followed the fundamentals of his training. He reiterated that Mantler's mistakes early in the arrest process carried over and left him in an uncomfortable position that led to the kick. 
Lane said based on video, interviews and dispatch transcripts, most RCMP officers involved in Tavares' arrest simply weren't well-trained to handle high-risk vehicle arrests.
"Some understand it better than others," he said.
You need someone with experience—just five years—to take charge and supervise and direct, he said.  
Later in the trial, Const. Owen Smith, seemed to confirm the problem. He said no one at the arrest scene took charge. He said officers simply did what was needed. He assigned himself the duty of gathering evidence from Tavares, which included spent shotgun shells.
"We mostly self-delegated," he said.
The trial continues Monday.
John Sleeper


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