RCMP supervisor throughout N.S. mass capturing took prolonged go away amid second-guessing

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HALIFAX — One of the Mounties who oversaw the preliminary response to the mass capturing in Nova Scotia was off work for at the least 16 months afterwards, saying he struggled with questions on his personal choices in the course of the rampage.

Staff Sgt. Brian Rehill — a danger supervisor on the RCMP’s Operational Communications Centre in Truro, N.S. — instructed investigators with the general public inquiry investigating the killings that assist from different officers helped him address the aftermath.

However, he was nonetheless off work on the time of his interview on Jan. 15. “I’m a bit rusty because I haven’t worked since September 2020,” he mentioned. The inquiry eliminated the explanations behind Rehill’s absence from the transcript of the interview, saying it was “personal information.”

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In the remaining doc, the 32-year-veteran of the drive describes a profession that started in a small city on Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula and included rural policing assignments in Cape Breton and northeastern Nova Scotia.

As a danger supervisor, he mentioned he labored alongside 911 name takers and dispatchers at thecommunications centre in Truro, giving security instructions to officers “engaged in high-risk activities” throughout non-business hours when district supervisors and commanders aren’t on responsibility.

During his interview, Rehill spoke about his resolution to not rapidly ship in a second group of officers to assist the primary three officers who superior into Portapique, N.S., after the primary experiences of shootings had been acquired on the night time of April 18, 2020.

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Lawyers for victims’ households have mentioned that if the RCMP had a full complement of six officers on responsibility that night time — fairly than the minimal 4 — and a system to trace officers, a second workforce may need been capable of advance up one other street to the place the killer really was.

Rehill mentioned he might have confronted criticism if he’d despatched in a second workforce and officers had shot at each other. “People would be saying, ‘What the hell were you thinking, Rehill, having two or three teams there in the pitch black and they don’t know where the other one is?”‘ he said in the interview.

The staff sergeant also said that with hindsight, “I probably could have sent another team in there,” and he then spoke of the difficulty of looking back at the decisions taken, the distress it created for him and the reassurances he received from other officers.

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“I was second-guessing myself a lot and wondering, did I miss something that, had I not missed it, he (the killer) wouldn’t have gotten out of there and (Const.) Heidi (Stevenson) could be alive, all these folks in Wentworth could be alive, that sort of factor,” he instructed the investigator. After the gunman killed 13 folks and escaped from Portapique on April 18, he spent the night time in close by Debert earlier than resuming his rampage and killing 9 extra folks, together with Stevenson.

An occupational well being and security investigator’s report that checked out office compliance points concluded there was an “environment of confusion” over the roles of the preliminary RCMP supervisors on the night time of the mass capturing.

Labour investigator Lorna MacMillan mentioned this breached the RCMP’s requirement below the Labour Code to make sure every worker has the “supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety at work.”

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She additionally mentioned in her March 29 report that the district supervisors from the Bible Hill RCMP workplace ought to have assumed command, however directions had been coming from each Rehill and the district supervisors. Radio logs point out that at 11:45 p.m. that night time, a workers sergeant within the district instructed officers on the scene that Rehill “has command.”

In the interview, Rehill mentioned he understood he was the “initial critical incident commander,” and was the “go between” till a skilled vital incident commander — Staff Sgt. Jeff West — arrived on the scene later that night time.

Rehill mentioned he relied closely on the expertise of the primary officers on the scene, who had been skilled in quick response strategies for neutralizing lively shooters. “I don’t micromanage the (RCMP) members, and on the night in question, I didn’t micromanage,” he mentioned. “I was listening a lot.”

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Meanwhile, Rehill and different supervisors overseeing the response had bother figuring out the killer’s reproduction RCMP cruiser, in keeping with fee’s summaries of the occasions on the primary night time.

Within a half-hour of the capturing beginning, 911 name takers and RCMP members acquired experiences the killer’s automotive was a “decked and labelled RCMP car,” that it was “just like a police car” with “lights and stuff, and it was “a cop car” that was white with stripes, however presumably no roof lights.

However, Rehill mentioned in his interview he heard from operators on the Truro communications centre that the killer, Gabriel Wortman, was a collector of decommissioned patrol vehicles, and Rehill mentioned “everyone” on the centre believed “we’re looking for one of these white, Ford Tauruses.”

In his interview with the inquiry, the workers sergeant mentioned he didn’t know till the subsequent morning that “this guy had a fully marked police car that looked identical to one of ours that just rolled off the lot.”

“I was in shock when I saw the photo of the police car,” he mentioned.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed April 27, 2022.



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