Last week, as the tragic events on James Smith Cree Nation and in Weldon, Saskatchewan and the subsequent manhunt were unfolding, many Emergency Alerts were issued in Manitoba.
Tara Seel, Manitoba RCMP media relations officer, says that while she appreciates how some people felt that there were too many alerts, she is still slightly disappointed.
"I mean, we put out these messages these alerts only when things meet certain criteria in terms of risk to public safety," notes Seel. "In this particular incident, we felt that there was enough of a concern for public safety that we needed to let people know what was going on."
Seel explains that when these alerts come out to the public, they are through the provincial alerting system.
"They're set to go a certain amount of time until that alert is cancelled or updated. We did provide a couple of updates, so people weren't always getting the same alert. I don't know if everyone read through the whole alert, but they weren't the same alert that was coming. So, there were some updates provided to people in terms of what now to look for and that kind of thing."
SK RCMP received a report the suspects may traveling in the Arcola Ave area around 11:45 a.m. in Regina, SK in a black, Nissan Rogue with SK license plate 119 MPI. For photos, descriptions and updates: https://t.co/nSjMdHEck6 pic.twitter.com/e4H4Bu0ZPg— RCMP Manitoba (@rcmpmb) September 4, 2022
The media relations officer stresses that the whole point of the RCMP and Manitoba law enforcement is to keep people safe.
"That is our first and foremost goal all the time. So, if we feel that there's any threat, we are going to use the tools in our toolbox to keep people safe, and one of those tools that has amazing reach in terms of reaching everyone who has a cell phone, which is most people these days, is the alerting system. So, by providing those alerts, we're making sure everyone is aware of the risks that could be present to their personal safety."
Seel says that part of the reason Manitobans would get an alert, even if the events are happening provinces over, would be because law enforcement would rather be safe than sorry with a nearby threat.
"Both Manitoba and Alberta issued alerts because the incident happened right in between them. So, it wasn't determined which way they had gone. So, to keep people safe, the people in the nearest vicinities were alerted."
Seel notes that emergency alerts are an incredible tool to reach people.
"We appreciate everyone's understanding and patience with these messages that are going out, and please trust that we're only sending them because of this information that we feel you need to have in order to keep yourself safe."
The RCMP was first notified of the incidents on September 4th after multiple stabbings were reported in the James Smith Cree Nation in Saskatchewan.
The following day, on September 5th, Damien Sanderson was found dead with multiple wounds and on September 7th, the manhunt ended when Myles Sanderson surrendered and was arrested in Rosthern, Saskatchewan, before dying in police custody later that day.