The killing of two Canadian soldiers in separate attacks last month sent out security ripples across the country, including here in Waterloo Region.
In response to the incidents in Ottawa and St. Jean Sur Richelieu, members of the Regional Emergency Planning Advisory Committee (REPAC) including regional and area CAOs, Waterloo Regional Police chief Bryan Larkin and regional fire and hydro coordinators met to coordinate security plans.
“I would like to reassure our community that, although we are not aware of any immediate local threats to safety, we are committed to working in conjunction with our policing partners across the country to help ensure the safety of all citizens,” said Larkin in a statement following the meeting October 24. “We remain particularly confident in our strong local partnerships and the citizens of Waterloo Region and will continue working together in reducing potential risks to public safety. Good information is key to preventing crime and we ask every member of the public to be alert and vigilant, and to report anything unusual to police.”
The release added that, “Local municipalities are working together to enhance vigilance at their facilities and to ensure their respective security plans are up to date. All municipalities routinely review their security plans and will update with information learned from this week’s events.”
Township of Woolwich chief administrative officer David Brenneman was present at the meeting. He echoed the message put forward by the police chief.
“While there is no imminent threat or danger, nevertheless, in these circumstances it is important to keep an appropriate perspective and a calm perspective,” he said. “One of the key things that can be learned from this is increased vigilance.”
He continued, “We need to be vigilant to protect our fellow staff, to protect the public, regarding suspicious individuals, suspicious activities and suspicious packages and things of that nature. It is important to always be aware of your surroundings.”
Wellesley CAO Willis McLaughlin also took part in the meeting.
“We have ensured that all staff have had the opportunity to be kept in the loop with communications from the police chief and others through direct meetings with staff and posting announcements for all to see. Increased vigilance is our watchword and we have stressed that throughout our respective staff meetings. We feel Wellesley Township is an unlikely target for terrorism, but that much said it doesn’t hurt to make staff aware of the little things like a parcel left in an odd location etc.”