Column: Langley RCMP well prepared to serve and protect

Code red.

These are scary words, with scary connotations.

Visions of Columbine can’t help but enter your mind when you hear them.

These were the words used to describe a tense situation at R.E. Mountain Secondary last Friday morning when a possible gunman was spotted outside the school around the same time officials learned of a veiled threat from students that the school would be “shot up” on that same day.

While both situations turned out to be far less serious than they originally appeared, those initial moments must have been very tense for all involved.

The co-ordinated, professional and quick response by the RCMP must be commended.

Police arrived almost immediately, swooped in and arrested the alleged armed suspect right away and implemented a code red lockdown, with armed police standing guard. The staff at Mountain also seemed well trained and ready to respond.

It always amazes me that there are men and women whose job it is to run toward danger. In this case, a suspected shooter.

But that was the case last Friday.

The man, who it turned out was carrying a barbecue lighter not a gun, and was acting strangely, was apprehended safely.

In the meantime, police had another unresolved issue to deal with.

A student who was part of a disturbing conversation about the school being shot up that day, had not arrived to class and was nowhere to be found.

Police didn’t lift the code red until he was found and they were confident the situation was resolved.

Once the lockdown was lifted, the principal, along with RCMP, called a school-wide assembly explaining exactly what happened, stopping any of the rumours that commonly erupt like wildfire among groups of teens.

While the whole situation luckily turned out to be nothing on both accounts — it was a good indication that both RCMP and school district staff are trained and ready for any future incidents.

We are very lucky in Canada,  unlike the U.S. where school shootings are far more common. But our emergency responders showed that they aren’t complacent.

The RCMP head brass in Ottawa have a lot of work to do for management issues but the officers here in Langley are serving and protecting us well.

Thank you.