SLEMON PARK - Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea visited the Atlantic Police Academy in Slemon Park on Wednesday to announce a partnership between the academy and the Canada Border Services Agency.
The agreement allows the agency to use facilities at Slemon Park to deliver firearms training to officers.
"The co-operation between these two organizations has been commendable," said Shea. "Together, they have found a way to fill a need and the result benefits the region and the country."
Two levels of training will take place at the APA - training officers who are new to firearms and a two-day annual recertification session. The three-week course will take place in APA classrooms, simulation rooms and the indoor firing range. Training will cover the safe use, handling, storage and transportation of firearms.
"We at the academy are embarking on a new safety journey. To use a good fishing analogy, Minister, the academy has landed a big fish," APA executive director Edgar MacLeod said to Shea during Wednesday's announcement.
"This win-win agreement provides the CBSA with a cost effective and efficient venue to train its agents to the highest firearms standard and the academy capitalizes on an exciting opportunity to maximize the use of its infrastructure and it generates revenue that will facilitate the growth and expansion of our institution."
The firearm training is part of the agency's 10-year arming initiative. In 2006, the federal government announced its decision to provide funding for training and equipping CBSA officers with firearms. There are currently 1,505 armed officers trained and working throughout the country at land and marine ports of entry. The CBSA is aiming to arm 4,800 officers by 2016.
The initiative is an effort to enhance border security to help protect Canadian communities, an agency release said. Possessing firearms enables officers to have a broader range of options when responding to dangerous situations and pursuing enforcement activities.
CBSA firearm training is also offered in British Columbia and Ottawa. A fourth location is currently being constructed in Quebec.