Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Non-emergencies (204) 729-2345   |   Emergencies 9-1-1

Department Organization

Emergency Response Team

The Emergency Response Team (ERT) is made up of three different units. There is the Incident Commanders (IC), the Tactical Response Unit (TRU) and the Crisis Negotiators Unit (CNU). During High Risk/Critical Response incidents, the ERT is called to deal with the situation. These situations may include High Risk Search Warrants, Arrest Warrants, Hostage/Barricaded persons, VIP Security, High-risk vehicle stops, Riotous Situations and Disturbances or any other situation where specialized training and equipment are determined to be required.

In any of these situations the Incident Commander is the person in charge of the situation. All information is directed to him and he makes the decision on what tactics are used to resolve the incident. A Command Post would be setup. In the command post would be the Incident Commander, a TRU liaison. a CNU liaison and any other people that are deemed necessary to deal with the situation.


Incident Commanders

In any critical incident the Critical Incident Commander (CIC) is the person in charge of the situation. The CIC has the necessary knowledge, skill, practice, and procedural acumen essential to effectively plan and direct operations in a hostage, barricade, suicidal situation, high risk warrant or any other critical incident they are called to handle. They make the decision on tactics that are employed in the incident.

The CIC knows the responsibilities and limitations of the Incident Command Triangle, the concepts and philosophy of crisis negotiations, subject/suspect assessment, mental illnesses, and emotionally disturbed person(s). They are coordinating the efforts of everyone involved from arrival at the scene to the successful negotiations, tactical resolution or intervention and the efficient and effective use of support personnel. The CIC will set a mission statement at the beginning of each incident and ensure everyone is aware of that mission so they are all working toward the same goal.

The CIC has been training at the Canadian Police College to know how to be in command of these types of incidents. They also attend regular training sessions throughout the year to continue developing their skills.


Tactical Response Unit

The Brandon Police Service Emergency Response Team (Later renamed the Tactical Response Unit) was formed in 1990 under the direction of then Chief Brian Scott. The team was formed after a firearms incident in the central part of the City. Chief Scott quickly realized the need for such a specialized team and the process began. Under the direction of A/Sgt. Don Bell, a total of 7 members formed the first team. Training was conducted under the direction of members of the Winnipeg Police Service Emergency Response Unit. The Team was called into active duty in 1992 after the Police Service was satisfied that the level of basic and specialized training was up to standard. In addition to the training with the Winnipeg Police Service, specialized training was also received through the Calgary Police Service (Sniper/Observer Training) and through the FBI Field Office in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In 1992, Sgt. (retired Chief) Ian Grant was assigned to be the NCO in charge of the team and served in that role until 1999. Chief Grant was one of the seven original members of the team. The team also added an 8th member. From the humble beginnings in 1990 and with the support of the Police Service, the team acquired state of the art equipment and resources in order to complete their role in a safe and effective manner. This was also supplemented with training under the direction of members of the Los Angeles Police Department SWAT, the RCMP for Sniper / Observer Training, and the Winnipeg Police Service for Chemical Munitions Training as well as in house training throughout the year.

In 1999, S/Sgt. Doug Palson took over as the NCO in charge of the team and remained in this capacity until 2004. During his tenure, the team name was changed from the Emergency Response Team to the Tactical Response Unit. Again with the commitment from the Police Service, equipment and training requirements were given a high priority.

Since 2004, Cst. Darren Creighton, Sgt. (now Inspector) Randy Lewis, Sgt. (now S.Sgt.) Kevin Loewen and Sgt. David Andrew have all had the responsibility of being in charge of the team. Cst. Jeff Hoad is currently the NCO of the Tactical Response Unit.

Today the team consists of nine Tactical operators, one Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) officer and two K9 officers (with PSD Karma and PSD Storm), bringing the total compliment of the team to 12 members.

The TRU team trains regularly throughout the year to ensure they can meet the ever-growing demand to deal with the wide variety of high risk situations that the team is required to respond to.

The TRU team works closely with the members of the Crisis Negotiations Unit and the Incident Commanders to make sure that in any real life situation the Police Service is prepared to meet the any challenges it faces in a professional and proficient manner with the safety of the public always at the forefront.


TRU at Westoba thumbnail size


Crisis Negotiators

Crisis negotiation is a law enforcement technique used to communicate with people who are threatening violence (workplace or domestic violence, suicide, or more rarely, terrorism), including but not limited to barricaded subjects.

The first members of the Brandon Police Service were sent for training at the Canadian Police College in Ottawa in June of 1983.

At that time the course was known as Hostage Taker/Barricaded Person Negotiator Course. The course was 5 days in length and was taught by experts from the United States. Constables Gerry Paddock and Rick Semler were the first members of the Brandon Police Service to receive training in this area and well prior to the formation of the Tactical Response Unit in 1990.

The first call for service for the newly formed negotiation team was on January 5, 1986 when members responded to a barricaded person call.

Currently the Crisis Negotiation Unit at the Brandon Police Service has 6 members who have received special training at the Canadian Police College, which is now a 2-week course. These members have been trained by experts in the field, from across Canada and the United States.  Some of these training opportunities include friendly competitions with other law enforcement negotiator teams. In June 2017, they placed first at the Upper Red River Valley Crisis Negotiator Competition and Conference, after being judged by a group of peers.

The Crisis Negotiation Unit works in concert within the Incident Command Triangle, which includes an Incident Commander, the Crisis Negotiation Unit and the Tactical Response Unit.  

Crisis Negotiator Team June 2017



Armoured Rescue Vehicle - ARV


In the coming days and weeks, you may start to see our newest fleet vehicle out on the road, as we have received our ARV in December 2019.

It is a Terradyne Gurkha MPV, which is a brand of Armoured Rescue Vehicle (ARV).

Since we announced the purchase of our ARV in May 2019, there has been some conversation about the necessity and function of the equipment.

We would like to take the opportunity to show you what it looks like, and explain more about how it can assist us in high-risk situations.

Our ARV is a versatile armoured vehicle. We chose the MPV or Multi-purpose vehicle from the options available through Terradyne Armoured Vehicles. It has 4X4 driving capabilities, and is more adaptable to travelling on a variety of terrains than the previous vehicle used by our ERT team.

The Brandon Police Service Emergency Response Team (ERT) is currently one of three, operational teams of this nature in the province, and we serve the City Of Brandon. We currently have an agreement with other law enforcement agencies in the Westman Area that we will provide the ARV and tactical support on an as-needed basis.

Our current Operating Procedures will determine what situations warrant the use of the ARV. It will not be used for every day general patrols.

Please take the time to read the list of Frequently Asked Questions to address any specific questions you may have.

The Brandon Police Service remains committed to community. Maintaining a strong and healthy relationship with the citizens we serve is our priority. The replacement of our old ERT truck with an ARV that is better suited to providing a safe work and living environment reaffirms our dedication to crime prevention. Community policing remains a priority to our core values, and we are fully committed to the partnerships we have made while working toward crime and harm prevention.


ARV reflective thumbnail    


Armoured Rescue Vehicle – Frequently Asked Questions


Q:     Is there a better way to spend taxpayers’ money? $400,000 is a lot of money for a vehicle.

A:     The money used for this piece of equipment comes from Criminal Property Forfeiture, not taxes. This means that money spent on the ARV came from individuals who committed crimes, and who placed the public at risk.

The uses of funds from Criminal Property Forfeiture is set out in provincial legislature. While suggestions for other ways the funds could have been spend may be worthy endeavors, they may not fall within the scope of the Act. For more information on Criminal Property Forfeiture, you can visit the Government of Manitoba’s Website at


Q: What was wrong with the vehicle you have been using for high-risk situations?

A: The two vehicles are quite different in the operational functions they provide to members. The outgoing vehicle did not offer the safety capabilities that the ARV provides. Members and the public we are trying to protect were still vulnerable to situations involving ballistic threats.

The outgoing vehicle functioned as a command post, which could transport members and equipment to a scene. It is also limited the environments and terrain it could be driven on.

It is now with BFES, to become a part of their fleet.


Q:     What is the new vehicle going to look like?

A:     Terradyne Armored Vehicles Inc. built our rescue vehicle. Attached are some of the photos of the Armoured Rescue Vehicle. It is painted black with no overt/coloured Brandon Police Service logos visible, as our logo is shaded grey. This was an intentional design, as the ARV will be shared with other law enforcement agencies in Westman in high-risk situations.


Q:     What communities and law enforcement agencies will benefit from the ARV?

A:     The ARV will be used to serve partners in the Westman area. There are no defined boundaries, as each situation case will be discussed and considered at the Incident Command level.


Q:    Will members of BPS be attending high-risk calls in other communities, or will the ARV be handed over to other agencies members when requested?

A:     This will depend on the need of the agency requiring assistance. Each situation will be discussed case by case.


Q: Do other jurisdictions in Manitoba and Canada have similar vehicles?

A:     Yes. Most urban centers in Canada have access to an ARV. Here in Manitoba there is one with Winnipeg Police Service Emergency Response Team and one with the RCMP. We are one of the teams that may be deployed not only within our own jurisdiction, but also around the southwestern side of the province. We cannot answer questions about the specific capabilities of other ARVs.


Q:     Can you just borrow an armoured vehicle from Shilo Base?

A:     The Brandon Police Service has a great relationship with the Base, but deploying military resources and equipment is very difficult. It requires an “ok” through the highest level of governments, and timeliness is affected.

Before the military can become involved in any civilian situation, the National Defense Act needs to apply. This act does not apply to the high-risk cases that require police response.

Military personnel do not have the same authorities granted to police officers and cannot replace the civil power held by police.

Utilizing DND military equipment, even if possible, would only reinforce fear of actual militarization. That is not our goal in any way.


Q:     Can we not just use an armoured vehicle like a Brinks Truck?

A:     While these vehicles offer protection from ballistic assaults, these types of vehicles do not offer the versatility that an ARV offers, and are designed only to operate on designated roadways. The ARV has more off road capabilities, which would allow officers and our rural partners to drive it into more obscure locations and terrains.


Q:     Why do you need this vehicle now?

A:     The environment in our community has changed, and police must adapt to those changes. Police must have the tools available to respond to critical calls when required, and the armoured rescue vehicle is another tool in the toolbox.

The ARV will serve an important function in responding to calls that might be highly volatile, and as a security measure for both members of the public, and police officers.

The City of Brandon has a variety of other specialized heavy equipment in its fleet, necessary to perform a variety of duties – from snowplows, to fire trucks, to waste management trucks. Each piece of equipment is critical to being prepared to adequately respond to calls for service and provide a safe environment to citizens and employees.

Based on local, provincial, national and global events we know that the incidence of unpredictable attacks on both citizens and police has increased exponentially over the past decade thereby changing the nature of crime and crime response. Brandon and Westman are not immune from high-risk events and our public safety servants require equipment suitable to meet current and future needs of our community.


Q:     In what types of Scenarios would the ARV be deployed?

A:     There are policies and Standard Operating Procedures that govern deployment. It will typically be deployed when the TRU and ERT Teams are activated.

The new ARV could be deployed for a variety of potential crisis calls:

        -Weapons calls – especially dealing with volatile, possibly armed suspects who may or may not have hostages. This allows us to get in closer vicinity safely.

        -Perform extraction – This is invaluable for citizens and police officers. During volatile situations, we can use the ARV to safely extract people who are in the area of risk, and offer assistance or recover individuals with medical emergencies if necessary.

        -It will not be used for random or routine patrols. It is a specialized piece of our fleet, and will be deployed accordingly. Its use will be specifically defined in policy.

The new rescue vehicle will also be used for training purposes, so you may see it around town, without emergency lights and sirens, while on training.

The ARV is intended to support all Brandon Police Service members in their work protecting the community and is intended to serve the needs of the organization and the community as a whole.


Q:     Does this further militarize our police service?

A:     We recognize the concern that some members of the public have regarding militarization. The unfortunate reality is that the ARV has become a necessary tool for police in Canada to have available to them.

Brandon is one of the last urban areas in the country to add the ARV to our equipment. The addition of this equipment is in response to the growing trend that police are coming into situations that are more volatile, encountering more weapons and seizing more firearms more than ever before.

The amount of firearms seized in 2018 tripled from the amount seized in 2017, and in 2019, we are on target to match what we seized in 2018.

It is important to note that the ARV has no offensive capabilities.


Q:     Why would you request this vehicle from Criminal Property Forfeiture funds, rather than just focusing on more members?

A:     Criminal Property Forfeiture proceeds have been used in a number of ways to promote safer communities by investing in specialized equipment, training or other resources for law enforcement agencies. The purchase of this ARV is just one example of how these funds have benefited law enforcement and Brandon Police Service.

Back to Top

Department Organization