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Report recommends batons, pepper spray for B.C. natural resource officers


June 12, 2019
By Staff

A March 2018 report says B.C. natural resource officers are not properly equipped for the risks they face and calls for batons and pepper spray to be distributed, according to a CBC article.

Find more from the article, originally found here, below:

Joel Johnston, a violence prevention consultant, wrote the report for the Forestry Ministry’s Compliance and Enforcement Branch. It was released earlier this year as part of a Freedom of Information request.

Natural resource officers enforce provincial rules related to the environment. Their jobs include managing wildfire risks at campsites and on private property, investigating unauthorized use of Crown land and educating the public.

The report says the officers are not properly equipped for incidents such as groups of drunk campers, mentally unstable people living on Crown land and people with weapons like knives, axes and firearms.

“Parallel problems have existed across similar agencies in the past with tragic results that could have been averted,” Johnston said in the report.

B.C. Forestry Ministry says its natural resource officers are trained to defuse conflict situations and use self-defence tactics.

The Ministry also notes that “there has never been an incident that has resulted in someone being charged for assaulting a Natural Resource Officer.”
In his report, Johnston cites examples from across Canada of law enforcement officers who were killed or injured, like Rod Lanzenby, an Alberta community peace officer who was fatally beaten over a dog-related bylaw infraction in 2012.

“Canadian case law now exists requiring employers to act on foreseeable risk with solutions that are realistic and as comprehensive as possible,” he said.