Richmond, B.C. — Richmond RCMP Sgt. Cam Kowalski and E-Comm Training Manager Corrie Okell were honoured with a Richmond Chamber of Commerce 9-1-1 award in the category of Community Safety Initiative, for their innovative aircraft laser attack policy that was developed as a means of responding to laser pointers aimed from the ground into cockpits of aircrafts in flight.
Shining a laser into the cockpit of an aircraft is a serious safety risk and completely incapacitates pilots. It is also a violation of several federal offences. Sgt. Kowalski along with Okell developed a standard operating procedure for E-Comm call-takers and dispatchers who support Richmond RCMP and Richmond Fire-Rescue. The new policy came into effect in May 2012, and allows E-Comm to field all reports of laser incidents in Metro Vancouver from the air traffic control or airport operations centre and notify local police. Under the previous policy air traffic control would report a laser incident internally within NAV CANADA but there would be a time delay in response.
“This policy gives first responders the opportunity to make significant breakthroughs in improving response times and helping to create safer communities,” says Okell. “Already we have seen a dramatic decline in the number of laser pointer incidents, which have fallen from 42 in 2011 to 13 in 2012 following the launch of the new policy.”
NAV CANADA is using the new laser policy as a basis for policies in airports across British Columbia, and cites it as a “best practice.” Sgt. Kowalski and Okell were recognized for their contributions to public safety at an award ceremony held in Richmond on May 7, 2013.
E-Comm answers close to one-million 9-1-1 calls each year for Metro Vancouver, the Sunshine Coast Regional District, Whistler, Squamish and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (south). For tips on using 9-1-1 and more information about E-Comm visit www.ecomm911.ca or follow E-Comm’s Twitter feed @ecomm911_info.
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