Officers take training to new heights at Collingwood Grain Terminals

Officers from across the province are making use of Collingwood’s iconic grain terminals to learn potentially lifesaving skills.

The Ontario Tactical Advisory Body is hosting a three-day tactical workshop at the grain terminals.

Officers from across Ontario are repelling off the iconic structures, learning how to respond to crises at high altitudes.

“Often we’re called, people will put themselves in perilous positions, and we have to go rescue them,” said Sgt. Eric Reiner of the Toronto Police Service. “Fire does a fantastic rescue as well, but we go help people that don’t want to be rescued, or if they put themselves up, you can’t negotiate with someone on a bullhorn that’s way, way up there. So we’ ll actually get up to them, and we can commence a negotiation process for deescalating a situation.”

Over the last five years, Reiner said those types of calls had more than tripled, meaning the skills officers are learning in Collingwood are needed now more than ever.

Four officers serve as instructors, leading the hands-on course for eight of their colleagues, many coming from different police services.

“I think it’s got to be sometimes the trust that goes into it,” said one of the four instructors, Const. Doug McLellan of the Barrie Police Service. “Just trusting yourself, trusting your equipment, trusting the knowledge you have. But I think everything comes with experience. Once you get some experience behind you and you get to know what you are doing, that it just builds your confidence and it makes it really easy.”

Along with learning to repel safely, the officers learn how to multitask and operate necessary equipment while responding to a crisis.

“They have a multitude of things to do, not just be lowered or lower themselves on a line, but they may have to prevent somebody from jumping so that means they have to access a conducted energy weapon where they might have to deploy that on that person to save their life,” said Joseph Sanghi, the president of the Ontario Tactical Advisory Body.

One of the students this year is Cons. Bryan McKean of the Guelph Police Service. While using these skills means a crisis is at hand, which may not be a good thing, McKean said he’ll feel ready to use them when needed.

“Obviously, you don’t want to have to have that call, but in the same sense, you do because you want to put your training into use, and I feel confident that if somebody needs us, we can safely protect that person and ourselves.”

The training will continue at the grain terminals on Thursday.

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