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Manitoba RCMP should have issued follow-up alert announcing Wadien arrest: expert

Click to play video: 'Manitoba RCMP should have issued follow-up alert announcing Wadien arrest: expert' Manitoba RCMP should have issued follow-up alert announcing Wadien arrest: expert
A security and defence expert commends Manitoba RCMP for issuing an emergency alert as they searched for an armed and dangerous suspect, but says they missed an important step. Brittany Greenslade reports. – Oct 21, 2021

A security and defence expert commends Manitoba RCMP for issuing an emergency alert as they searched for an armed and dangerous suspect.

However, professor Christian Leuprecht of Queen’s University, who specializes in security and defence, says police should have issued another when Wesley Manfred Wadien, 38, was arrested, even though they were correct in sending Wednesday night’s notice to phones, radios and TVs.

“That’s probably I think part of the learning curve here that we obviously got the front end right, but we’re still struggling on the back end that we also need to provide some closure to individuals,” Leuprecht told Global News on Thursday.

RCMP Supt. Rob Lasson suggests they got the arrest news out in other ways.

Police made a number of efforts to get the word out including recalling the news media for an official statement along with posting updates to social media, Lasson said, adding they may consider releasing a follow-up alert in future incidents.

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“As you can understand, when these things are rolling out, they’re very dynamic,” Lasson told 680 CJOB.

“Moving forward, if we do decide to do something like that, it’ll be assessed against all factors ongoing.”

A lot of consideration went into sending out emergency alerts Wednesday night, he said, which were issued prior to Wadien’s arrest.

Read more: Manitoba RCMP arrest man believed armed, dangerous, and an immediate threat to the public

Police took him into custody in the Rural Municipality of Rockwood after what RCMP called a “high-risk” pursuit, with the help of a slew of police resources, including emergency response teams, police dogs and officers from detachments throughout the Interlake region, as well as Winnipeg police.

Rockwood resident Lorne Ross told 680 CJOB he was in the area while the manhunt was taking place, and it was impossible to ignore the police presence.

“When I was going down the road, I could see searchlights just to the north, the next mile over,” Ross said. “We were told to lock all our vehicles and lock our doors.”

Lasson said the alert messages — which considered Wadien a threat to the public and encouraged people in the Selkirk, Interlake and Winnipeg areas to stay indoors — were issued while the manhunt was well underway.

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“As the investigation progressed, we always conduct an ongoing risk assessment, taking into account many factors, including ongoing, escalating, dangerous behaviour … including the belief that he was in possession of firearms,” Lasson said.

“Last evening, we concluded it was very prudent to public safety that the RCMP issue the public alert to ensure everyone was aware about the potential risk invoked by Mr. Wadien.”

“Consideration to issue this public alert is taken very, very seriously, and only used where we believe there’s a very serious public safety risk,” he said. “The decision is based on a very intensive risk assessment and as of last evening, we deemed it appropriate.”

“We do not take it lightly, and understand it can be very alarming to the public when it’s received.”

They assessed Wadien’s risk based on his criminal history, Lasson said, as well as the fact that he was believed to be armed and erratic.

“His behaviour throughout the two days, it continued to escalate in a very unpredictable, erratic manner. With some of his past criminal history, we deemed him very high risk.

“We didn’t have him contained for quite some time, and we felt that there was a risk to the public.”

Law enforcement is already familiar with Wadien. Court documents reveal his criminal record dates back to the spring of 2003, when as a young man, he was charged with weapons-related offences.

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In 2007, Wadien spent seven months behind bars for breaking and entering. His wrap sheet also includes assault and theft charges along with driving and weapons bans.

Mounties have yet to announce more information on Wadien’s most recent arrest.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba RCMP arrest man believed to be a danger to public' Manitoba RCMP arrest man believed to be a danger to public
Manitoba RCMP arrest man believed to be a danger to public – Oct 21, 2021

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