The Abbotsford Police Department has created its own emergency response team after an integrated squad with three other community partners was disbanded.
The APD opted to develop the specialized force after other members in the Municipal Integrated Emergency Response Team (MIERT) decided not to renew their commitment after a decade of operation, said Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald
The APD's new emergency response unit features officers who are specially trained to undertake high-risk or tactical operations, similar to SWAT teams in other communities.
The APD had to decide whether to contract a new emergency response team or create its own unit when the MIERT agreement - which included Delta, New Westminster and Port Moody - was not renewed.
"We decided to build on the experience and expertise we had in-house," said MacDonald.
As the largest partner of MIERT, Abbotsford made the largest financial contribution and had the most calls for the team each year.
That also meant the APD had a relatively high number of officers already trained to undertake emergency response operations, said MacDonald.
To avoid negatively impacting the existing budget, the APD hasn't created a stand-alone unit but rather has specially trained officers working each patrol shift that can be called out should the need arise.
The APD walked away with the specialized amoured rescue vehicle after the MIERT break up.
The department had already paid for 40 per cent of the vehicle, which cost $330,000 two years ago, said MacDonald.
"We paid the balance minus the depreciation and managed to absorb it into the existing budget," he said.