Blue Line

RCMP opens up “flight deck” for rare media visit

The RCMP recently allowed journalists into its covert training facility for the Canadian Air Carrier Protective Program, which trains air marshals — also known as in-flight security officers.

April 17, 2018  By Staff

The CBC reports that almost everything about the 17-year old program, including how many officers train every year, is a well-kept secret, but the media organization was one of the chosen ones granted a tour of the nondescript Ottawa-area warehouse.

The CBC article goes on to state:

“Inside, officials sift through classified intelligence from Transport Canada, Public Safety and Canada’s international defence partners — including the intelligence agencies that make up the ‘Five Eyes’ alliance — to identify high-risk flights.”

The RCMP won’t say how many such real-life incidents their in-flight officers have stopped, CBC reports, but chances are good, though, that you’ve taken a flight with an undercover officer on board, according to Supt. Janis Gray, the program’s director.

The RCMP’s training model is one of the most robust in the world, Gray told the CBC, and other countries have sent representatives to the Ottawa area centre to learn from it.

“The team members are picked from a pool of RCMP officers and given a month of training to become an in-flight officer. They are then re-certified through a week’s training twice a year.

Since 2010, said Gray, officers have had to upgrade their training constantly. Every in-flight officer is a cop, a bomb detector, a spy and a quasi-paramedic — a human Swiss Army knife.”

The article also reports that in a group of about a dozen officers recently up for re-certification, only two were women. And almost all participants were Caucasian.

“Within the RCMP our program is taking very, I would say, structured steps to ensure we have a diverse group,” Gray said to the CBC, adding that a more diverse team helps its officers blend in with airport crowds.

Read the full article and see a supplied photo gallery here.

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