Olympic duty mostly uneventful

Supt. Brian Simpson says there were no nuclear terror plots narrowly averted on his watch. “No Jack Bauer. No 24. We were told to expect a lot more than we actually experienced,” Simpson said Friday, about a week after getting back from Olympics duty. “I think that speaks to the preparation done by the team leading up to this, looking at every possible contingency.”

Supt. Brian Simpson says there were no nuclear terror plots narrowly averted on his watch.

“No Jack Bauer. No 24. We were told to expect a lot more than we actually experienced,” Simpson said Friday, about a week after getting back from Olympics duty. “I think that speaks to the preparation done by the team leading up to this, looking at every possible contingency.”

He added, however, that the absence of any major incident speaks to the worth of costly investments into venue and public security, which as one of several “gold commanders,” he was responsible for overseeing.

Simpson and 26 other members of the Red Deer City RCMP detachment went to Vancouver and Whistler for the Winter Olympics to provide security. They have all now returned.

“It was a wonderful experience, work-wise and also as a Canadian,” said Simpson, who was there for six weeks.

“I think our country changed. I’ve never seen patriotism like that from Canadians. Us quiet Canadians.”

Simpson said he was struck by Maple Leaf-draped Olympics-goers bursting into spontaneous renditions of O Canada.

He was also happy to see all the different police forces working so well together, with patches from Victoria, Halifax and the Sûreté du Québec all being seen on one street corner, for example.

Simpson caught a few sports events, but was always on the go and usually just caught bits and pieces. He saw most of the men’s hockey final, but missed the overtime drama.

“That’s the way life goes. Who said life is fair? Sid the Kid was great. I saw the replays.”

As for how the large Red Deer contingent at the Games affected policing here, Simpson said he just had finance meetings with the city and there were no anomalies such as undue overtime pay seen during the Olympics period.

“Most people wouldn’t have noticed those 26 people gone. We can handle that in the short term, I’ve always said that.”

To help out, some plainclothes officers were put back in uniform to augment the frontline. This worked well, Simpson said, and though some investigations were put on hold, this wasn’t done at critical moments. Serious cases that came up got dealt with right away, he added.

The city’s entire Emergency Response Team was sent to Vancouver, with coverage temporarily provided by teams in Edmonton and Calgary. Only one incident demanded their services, though, when a search warrant was executed by the team from Edmonton, Simpson said.

mgauk@bprda.wpengine.com