RCMP VIP Protection Unit
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RCMP VIP Protection Unit

March 7, 2020

In the National VIP course
it’s separated in to three distinct areas. The ops plans and site plans,
motorcading and the third being the bodyguard,
GET DOWN, DOWN! I was frustrated today. Yeah I was
definitely frustrated. It’s a real steep learning
curve for me to process it. You know, when you are tasked
with protecting the leaders of countries, like United
States of America. You have to be
capable of putting up with that kind of stress. We are not just security we
are also ambassadors for Canada Once they finish this
course there is no time to make mistakes after you
leave this building. In Ottawa, Canada’s capital,
VIPs are frequent guests. These VIPS are vulnerable
to a variety of attacks, threats and acts of sabotage. An assassination attempt could
occur on any street corner. At any time. Anywhere. The RCMP provides the team
to protect these VIP’s. This team, composed of
highly trained men and women, are skilled, alert and
prepared for the unexpected. Inside RCMP national
headquarters Bill Demeau, a veteran of
Protective Policing, is preparing the training
syllabus for the next National VIP course. The VIP Driver Training
Course is a 4-day course that candidates must succeed,
it’s a prerequisite for the National Course. It’s an intensive course. A lot of work has
to go into it. It’s advanced techniques,
defensive and offensive. Because we are not dealing
with regular policing. At times we have to get away
from the bad guy because they are trying to attack
our motorcades. The training today is
about escape and evasion. It’s about getting away
quickly from an attack or even an ambush. Seconds count. The training is tough. It has to be… I’ve worked with the National
VIP course since 1984 as an instructor, became
lead instructor. We’ve modified the
course, improved it. To understand the
capability of the vehicle, what it can do and what
are your limitations. But with the training these
people with have the tools to get away from a situation. This morning in the
high speed reversing, the candidates will be leaving
one from the shoot that you see right behind me and reversing
at a high rate of speed. They have to achieve 80 km
an hour and in a controlled fashion break within a
short distance of time. Maintaining control of
the vehicle at all times. We have to get out of the
way as fast as possible. Quick movement, tuck your
elbow in, brace yourself, up to 80 and we are stopping. And then in a nice
straight fashion. We have had in the past cars
going out of control and hitting barricades and
going into the ditch. It’s part of the
training and it is the cost of doing business. But it is something that has
to be done to show them in real life if a
situation were to occur. This is the only way of
teaching them this is what’s going to happen if
you lose control. JUST HOLD ON TIGHT. Going 80 km backwards in a
straight line is not something I’ve done frequently or often
but obviously this is what we are learning here,
as it can be done. JUMP IN THE BACK!
JUMP IN THE BACK! Going full reverse
on a city street… Those pylons represent cars… or even pedestrians. Mistakes could cost lives. The standards are high. The pressure intense. One wrong move on the course
could lead to failure… and these candidates know it. That’s what happens when the
candidates don’t hold the steering wheel in the proper
position – they lose control. Like I said earlier, the mass
of the car is in the front where the engine block is and
because of that…once you lose control, the
back end will always lose to the front end. And this is an offensive
movement that we use in case one of our motorcades
would be under attack. It’s a way of taking
another car out of the play. “CRANK IT UP A NOTCH JEAN GUY” Once you feel you have
control then you commit. Brush me and then It’s
a complete lane change. It’s your weapon. You are accountable. HIT IT! The stress is consuming… Candidates need to ensure
a near perfect performance in order to pass. This perfection is
what saves lives. We had a really good
day on the track today. A lot of candidates are
putting a lot of effort into to it. We’ve got a couple of
people that are short on the borderline of
making it or not. Hopefully when it comes
time for the test runs this afternoon they are going
to bring their A Game out and make it. You know, we make
our courses here, we hope that everyone passes
but reality does set it and not everyone can
make the grade. If the Candidates can’t take
the pressure of a stopwatch. They won’t be able to take
the pressure of an attack. Those who fail go home. In Ottawa, the VIP
candidates underwent an intense Driving Course. Each Candidate was
timed to the second. Everything was graded. Only the most advanced
drivers moved on. For Cst. Cooper and Cpl.
Dhaliwal it’s been a good day… They both passed. It was pretty much touch and
go as to whether or not I’d be remaining for the
whole driving course. But it worked out and it
worked out really well. The driving course… very intense but when we
put the techniques into use, it just comes to you. Now comes the real test… This is where they learn
the essentials of protection services…and
it won’t be easy. The RCMP wants only the best
to be in V.I.P Protection. In the National VIP
course it’s separated into 3 distinct areas. The First being the ops
plan and the site plans. The 2nd being motorcading, and
the third being body guarding. We start off of course with
ops planning and site security and it’s one of the lead
points for our course because when dignitaries come to visit
Canada they go to the sites. Whether it be hotels
or convention centers. So when they come to
visit, every site they go to has to be secured. For this training scenario
the instructors have chosen The RCMP Stables… Home of the famous
Musical Ride. Often a destination of
choice for visiting VIP’s… Which is why it is a
logical training scenario. Filled with
corridors, side rooms, and even hiding places… The labyrinth-like layout
poses incredible challenges for the candidates. So basically the candidates
will be coming here and doing a site plan for an actual
visit that will be apart of our mock visit on Thursday. They will be coming in and
they will be looking at the site itself, looking for
where there is parking? Where they are going to bring
their motorcade in and how they will set up
their motorcade? They are going to look at
where the washrooms are. And they are going
to want to see where everything is located. Emergency exits, so on so fourth
for the dignitaries’ security. It is essential that
the site is secure. They must assess
and reassess the area for potential threat venues… An attack can come
from anywhere… Worst-case scenarios
have to be planned for… Nothing can be missed. Once the site has been
approved the travel routes need to be prepared
for the motorcade. The routes chosen
must be quick, efficient.. but
above all…safe. This morning they were given
a route plan lecture and they went out and planned routes
and now we are practicing with those routes… So everything has gotta
be smooth and everything’s gotta be safe. It’s always minor issues here
and there and that’s why we are here and once
we leave the course, and hopefully they have the
base to keep improving when they go to their units
in real operations. As soon as it is clear to go
and the motorcade commander gives the command to go. What we are going to do is we
are gonna come up and we are gonna form almost like
a little umbrella. OK, so both your S1 and your
S2 are gonna be on the left hand side protecting that side
of the limo and we are going to take him right over to the
proper side and we move it over and then we fall back
into our normal formation. There is a lot of small
details that we work with on a daily basis in VIP and
motorcading is the same. There are certain ways you
have to open the doors, certain ways you have to
protect your motorcade. Candidates take turns
being either motorcade commander or driver. Their routes must be flawless
and timed to the second… Communication is vital. There is a lot of stress, they
know that today is the day that the proverbial stopwatch
is going and we’re sitting in the cars watching everything
that they are doing. So they gotta bring their A game
in and they gotta make it happen VIP work is really
important as far as the motorcading is concerned. It is one of the big three. When a VIP does get off
a plane from any country, the first exposure he gets to
Canada is in the motorcade. So it has to be smooth. We are just not security, we
are ambassadors for Canada. We act in many roles that way. The RCMP’s VIP protection
program is considered one of the best in the world. Many countries look to the
RCMP for help with their protective service programs. But that prestige has been
earned through exceptionally high standards… Those standards
come with a cost. Only those who are
quick thinking, have an eye for detail, and
can hold up under pressure will advance… Well unfortunately not
everybody made it through the motorcade module. But by in large, once again
it is just the nerves. The final training
module…bodyguard protection. Lightening fast reactions… To deadly serious scenarios… The ultimate physical
and mental test for the candidates. Once they finish this course
if they get their certificate it’s game on and
it starts now. There is no time
to make mistakes after you leave this building. The National VIP course
is two thirds complete, with only the
bodyguard module remaining Combatives, the
art of self-defense. This training is
critical for candidates. Having the ability
to deter or defeat an attacker with your hands… It can mean the difference
between life and death. It’s the most physically
challenging part of the course. Right now the candidates
are learning self-defense techniques, in order to be
able to protect their VIP. If there attacks that come
towards them with either knives or guns or any other
type of weapon they have to be able to get that weapon away
from the person and get the VIP out of the way. See over here, gun. Over here, bang. All the way. “GUN” “Elbows down…” I was frustrated today, yeah
I was definitely frustrated because I want to do things
well and I want to be able to do them effectively too so. … It was a challenge,
it was a lot. I don’t know what I was
expecting for this afternoon, we can look on it on a sylabis
but once you are actually here of course it’s not
what maybe you think. It’s now time for the
candidates to use their hand-to-hand skills in
real world scenarios. Now we have what we call
scenario-based training. It’s all scenarios
we have prepared. Things that make sense nothing
over the top but they gotta come in and do their thing. We have different
bodyguard formations. They’re gonna start with a 4
members bodyguard and we’ll drop it down to two
and then to one on one. “DROP THE KNIFE,
DROP THE KNIFE” OK – What happened? I looked to the left and
I saw a man with a knife. OK Good reaction. I’m trying to remember
what I did now? Jamming your VIP he’s out of
harms way and then you deal with the threat. That was well done. It’s going well, it’s going
better than I thought it would. I was really anxious. About
it… baby steps, baby steps. You know The adrenaline is
going and you are stressed out to the max because of the
scenario based training as well. But you just got to bring
it down a notch and go in with common sense. Of course simunition uses
this weaponry that used to be called paint ball,
similar to that. It’s a soap-based type of
colorant that is in the rounds. And we use the nine mm very
similar to our service pistol. And so you know when they get
through the scenario based training using simunition
they get a little apprehensive about the idea of getting
shot and getting shot at. Of course there is no danger,
we take all the safety precautions but there is
something about, you know, getting stung by some kind of
a bullet that makes it very real actually…and that
is the idea behind it. Scenario based training helps
the bodyguards to be alert, ready for the unexpected. March 1981… the
unexpected happened. A deranged attacker comes
after President Ronald Reagan. In the span of 3 seconds
6 bullets were fired. Of those 6 bullets,
4 found targets, leaving several people
critically injured including the US president. This is an example of why
extreme emphasis is applied to the bodyguard module. These candidates need to
be 100% aware of their surroundings…. Because a
lot can happen in 3 seconds. The candidates have
successfully completed the bodyguard training. But there is one
more thing to do… Every year we come
down here and pay respect to our fallen comrades. So, you can see all the
names that died on duty. The memorial is overwhelming, there are a few
names that I recognize. I knew James Galloway, he was
in K Division and he was shot at an ERT call. So it is a little overwhelming
because you recognize the names on there and you have a
bit of a connection But it is nice to see that those people
are being recognized for you know, putting the public and
safety before their own selves. This is a grim reminder of
how dangerous Police Work is, including VIP protection. It seems that every year more
names are added to the list of those who have made
the ultimate sacrifice. Today is the final test. The last challenge
for the candidates on the National VIP course. Here they bring all
their skills and training into sharp focus. They must escort a fictitious
president through the busy streets of Ottawa. They don’t know what to expect
or what the threats could be…just like in
the real world. This is the candidates’
opportunity to show us that they have grasped all of the
techniques and the intricacies of VIP work, and show us that
they know what they are doing. This mock visit is played
throughout the city, through real
contacts, real sites. Ottawa city police who are
second to none in the country, are amazing. We couldn’t do
it without them. They actually get to
drive the real stretch limo for the first time.
It’s the real deal. And they see their
work come live. GOOD LUCK. Let’s GO. Every turn of the
motorcade could present a potential threat. The VIP protection candidates
take turns in different roles…constantly
being assessed and graded by instructors. They have been taught
the techniques to deal with every situation. It’s now up to them… The President is now
under VIP protection. Hour after hour,
location after location, the candidates escort
the mock president. The VIP Team must ensure
his safety at all times. While the motorcade is on
route Cst. Monique Cooper is finalizing the
security at the next site. A problem arises…and
she deals with it. Site commander just to
advise, I am dealing with this young lady here. She has got herself
handcuffed to the bench. I am just running a 29 on her. The mock visit is as
real as it can get. Site after site real potential
problems are encountered. Every scenario must be dealt
with quickly and efficiently. At the end of every
scenario the team is debriefed on what they did right… And what they did wrong. We put a lot of pressure on
them obviously and that’s what it is all about. You know, when you are tasked
with protecting the leader of your country, or leaders of
countries like the United States of America you have
to have your A game on. You have to be capable of
putting up with that kind of stress and that kind of hours
and it’s very demanding but also very rewarding
at the end of the day. At the end of the day the VIP
was kept safe from all threats. The National VIP training course
is now officially finished… Some passed, Some didn’t. For Cst. Monique Cooper
and Cpl. Harpreet Dhaliwal, their hard work and
dedication have paid off… They successfully
finished the course. The whole experience was
really really incredible. It was like being on a roller
coaster that had a lot of twists and turns and
a couple of loops. Sometimes I didn’t know if
I was going backwards or forwards but being
at this end of it, at this perspective…I can
honestly say it was fantastic. Let me tell ya! You know it’s a
big load off your shoulders and stuff like that. It’s one of the best
courses I have been on. It was very realistic. Now it’s up to the individual
members to just keep going and keep at it. It’s nice to see the
candidates bring it all together and actually go out
and do the job at the end of the course. Because we do everything
compartmentalized and then at the end on the mock visit we
throw everything together and it’s a culmination of
everything from ops/site planning, the ops plan
itself, the motorcade, the body guarding, it all
comes together and it’s fun to see the candidates succeed.

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