Nova Scotia makes changes to Alert Ready system, giving police direct access

PEXEL

Nova Scotia is making changes to its Alert Ready system, giving the RCMP and Halifax Regional Police direct access to send a public alert, rather than going through the Emergency Planning Office (EMO).

It means the police can quickly utilize the Alert Ready system, along with other police services throughout the province.

RCMP and HRP have been trained to use the system and can send an alert for police-related situations where there is believed to be an imminent threat to the public.

The system came under review after no alert was issued during the April mass killing, a 13-hour rampage that took the lives of 22 people.

Instead, the Nova Scotia RCMP sent out a series of tweets. It later said it had been working on writing an alert message to give to the EMO shortly before the gunman was shot and killed by officers.

"I think what came from the tragedy last year was the need for us to look at the system, and to look at how it should be used going forward, so that all police agencies, and not just the management of police agencies, but all police officers working the scene in the middle of the night, and as well the public, were very aware of when they could expect an alert, says Julia Cecchetto, president of the Nova Scotia Chiefs of Police Association.

"Alerts are not always appropriate, and that was one of the things that we also discussed, is when it was not appropriate to issue an alert, and so that's all built into when we will or will not issue an alert."

EMO will continue to issue police-related alerts at the request of all policing agencies in Nova Scotia and for non-police matters such as floods and forest fires.

Alerts have been issued for 12 events in Nova Scotia in the past year (April 2020 to July 2021), nine of which have been police-related events.