Ottawa, Royal Canadian Mounted Police create threat response team

The Ottawa police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have combined two units to battle chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats in the nation's capital.

The RCMP's 10 person CBRNE Operations Section and four Ottawa police officers trained in bomb disposal joined forces on December 1. The new unit will work out of an RCMP facility in east-end Ottawa for the next two years. Vern White, the Ottawa police chief, said that the merger will remove jurisdictional lines, Postmedia News reports.

"By putting the two units together, us and the RCMP, it does allow us to have more officers available within the jurisdiction of Ottawa," White said, according to Postmedia News. "Realistically, there was no reason for us not to be together."

The joint unit will respond to suspicious packages, embassy threats, bomb threats and terrorism investigations. Scott Sheppard, the officer in charge of the CBRNE unit, said that improvised explosive devices are of particular concern because they are used by both terror cells and criminal organizations.

"The homemade explosive problem is in its infancy right now," Sheppard said, Postmedia News reports. "We're probably going to see more of that in future as people improvise and try to design different types of explosive materials."

The Ottawa police and the RCMP hope that with the new joint group, it will become easier for the two departments to work together during terrorist incidents.

"We can share the resources, eliminate the confusion and erase those lines," Sheppard said, according to Postmedia News.

The officers will continue to be held accountable to internal disciplinary procedures and their governing bodies.