SUMMERSIDE – They knock on the door.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
“Fish and wildlife,” yells one of two conservation officers standing on the home’s step.
“What!” a woman hollers back from inside.
“What do you want?”
“We’re looking for Wanda”
The officers enter the home.
A woman is sitting on a chair in front of a TV, a bottle of vodka in hand.
As they enter, she jumps up.
“What do you want?” she repeats, stumbling a bit.
“Where’s Wanda?” asks the officer.
“What do you want?” she repeats for a third time.
As one officer speaks to the woman, the second moves to the far side of the kitchen.
As she yells at the officer, the woman steps toward a kitchen table covered in boxes and pill bottles.
“On the floor,” orders the officer.
The woman loses it.
She throws the TV remote at the closest officer and reaches for the table.
There’s a gun.
The closest officer sees it a split second before she grabs it. He rushes her, grabbing for the weapon, arm swinging towards him and his partner.
She gets a shot off as the two slam against the wall.
He manages to force her to the ground as she continues to fire off shots.
The second officer pulls his weapon as he dives behind a couch for cover.
The woman’s hand is forced to the ground as the second officer rushes to secure the gun while his partner subdues and handcuffs the suspect.
A shrill whistle pierces the air.
“Leave your helmets on! Weapons in your holsters!” booms an commanding fourth voice.
It’s coming from Insp. Wayne Rudderham of the Atlantic Police Academy.
The veteran police inspector checks to ensure his orders are met before signaling the all clear.
The two officers, who’ve since helped their suspect up off the floor, move quickly to get her helmet off and remove the handcuffs around her wrists.
They share a nervous laugh.
All three are in fact law enforcement officers, they’ve just finished a training simulation at the Atlantic Police Academy in Slemon Park.
Rudderham makes a joke to break the tension, something about ungrateful students always messing up his living room (which is actually part of the training centre), before giving the students his take on how they did during the exercise.
He’s one of two instructors working with a group of law enforcement officers from across the country, and various agencies, who had been here to complete the
Control Tactics for Instructors certification program offered by the Holland College facility.
They teach the course as much as needed, he explains, but average a group like the current one about once a year.
It’s basically a self defence course, designed to teach officers, who can then go home and train their colleagues in turn.
It’s all about knowing the proper way to use the tools of the trade, said Rudderham.
“Most law enforcement agencies, a lot of them, have the power to arrest, they have intermediate weapons or tools that they can use - handcuffs, batons - and in order to be able to effectively apply them and make sure that it’s done safely and within … the procedures of application, they need training and certification” he said.
These students will be certified instructors for three years, at which point they’ll have to come back to the academy for a five-day refresher course.
It’s been a great experience, said Grant White, a fish and wildlife enforcement officer with the Department of Justice in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“It’s a great facility, the instructors are very professional, the practical training and in-class presentations – they’re very thorough,” he said.
This type of training is important to have for anyone with authority to arrest people, he added.
‘It’s certainly something we need to know on a daily basis, to have access to our tools and to have an understanding of … when we’re patrolling,” he said.
This latest group of officers finished their training Friday.
Trainees of the Atlantic Police Academy work to subdue a suspect during a training exercise at the school’s Slemon Park facility. A group of about a dozen law enforcement officers from several provinces and territories have been in Summerside for the past two weeks completing a Control Tactics for Instructors program. Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer