Canadian border guards feel a government policy on firearms has made their jobs more dangerous.
As the Ottawa Citizen reported, “Border guards across Canada say their lives are at risk because the federal government is refusing to allow them to carry firearms on joint operations with other police forces. Customs officers, expert in searching for drugs and other contraband, want to carry their guns when helping police forces on raids outside ports, airports or regular areas of border guard jurisdiction but their bosses in Ottawa at the Canada Border Services Agency say they must go unarmed.”
That expertise in searching has border guards working joint operations that target organized crime and drug gangs. But while the officers they accompany are armed, border guards are not.
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“Ron Moran, president of the Customs and Immigration Union representing Canada’s 4,800 border guards, said there is no rationale for sending firearm-trained guards into dangerous situations without their weapons.”
“These people are well-trained and firearms are an integral part of that training,” Moran told the Ottawa Citizen. “If there is a confrontation they have only a fraction of a second to react. We call it empty holster syndrome and it’s dangerous.”
The situation may be resolved in upcoming weeks. Canada’s Occupational Health and Safety Tribunal will weigh in on a case where a border guard refused to take part in a joint operation with Montreal city police because he could not do so armed. Read more
Source: Ottawa Citizen 7/25/10
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