In the post-9/11 world, community policing and multi-jurisdictional police departments have become effective tools in preventing major terror attacks in North America. While not the largest police agency in the world, the British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service (or “Transit Police”) was called upon to provide security to an attractive terror target, the 2010 Olympic Winter Games held in Vancouver, Canada.

The Transit Police is the first multi-jurisdictional police force in Canada dedicated to creating a safe and friendly public transit system. Recalling the Spanish terror incident in 2004, where 191 individuals were killed and more than 1,800 people injured, mass transit makes an attractive target for those with extreme agendas. Mass transit, most notably buses and light rail, were the preferred method of moving visitors attending the Winter Games. As such, the risk of attack was justifiably high. Enter the British Columbia Transit Police.

Great Responsibility

Responsible for policing the entire transportation network operating in British Columbia’s South Coast region, including metropolitan Vancouver, the agency polices commuter trains, buses, LRT Skytrains, Sea Buses and passenger vehicle routes. With nearly 3 million passengers per day traveling across 21 municipalities throughout the entire Vancouver area, the area of responsibility is understandably large. The Transit Police are Vancouver’s true beat police—on foot, on trains, on buses, and in and around the stations.

And don’t mistake the Transit Police as Dudley Do-Right—these are true professionals that are armed and ready to protect against a terror attack. Working in conjunction with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Vancouver Police Department, local fire departments, and members of neighboring police agencies, the Transit Police strive to achieve a “seamless” form of policing between jurisdictions in the region. Armed with the GLOCK 22 semi-auto pistol for uniformed carry and the GLOCK 27 semi-auto pistol for concealed or plainclothes duty, the Transit Police rely upon the 100 percent reliability of the GLOCK system.

“We don’t carry a backup firearm,” says Officer Darrin Chaplin, director of training for the department. In fact, the Transit Police rely solely upon their GLOCK pistols. They have no rifles, shotguns or other tactical systems typically employed by other police agencies.

Officer Chaplin also noted that the department plans 16 firearms training sessions each year. “Our Force Options Training Officer creates a different two-hour lesson plan for each quarter that incorporates two attempts at the qualification course of fire and then a specific set of skills, drills, techniques or tactics to total 150 rounds per session for each officer. This means that each officer will shoot the qualification course of fire no fewer than eight times per year. In addition, they will train themselves on skill specifics no fewer than four times per year. This system is currently providing a 98 percent success rate, has reduced qualification anxiety, and has increased officers’ interest in firearms training.”

Although there have been many instances where Transit Police officers have been forced to “draw and display” their firearms during an incident, the department is happy to report that there has never been a discharge of a Transit Police-issued firearm outside of training.

As a result of the absolute confidence in the GLOCK pistol, the Transit Police have no plans to switch to another pistol manufacturer. Instead, the agency notes that one of the most difficult challenges in training officers comes when the department hires officers laterally from another policing agency.

“We currently have 170 officers,” says Officer Chaplin. “Our officers come from various backgrounds, including other police agencies, the Canadian military, provincial and federal sheriffs, the Canadian Border Services, as well as new recruits.”

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