CONTENT WARNING: The following may contain distressing details.

An RCMP internal review, released Thursday, says it didn’t find any circumstances that impeded the RCMP’s response to the James Smith Cree Nation mass stabbing tragedy, however, areas of growth were identified.

In September 2022, Myles Sanderson killed 11 people and injured 17 others during a mass stabbing incident on James Smith and the nearby community of Weldon. Sanderson would then lead RCMP on a three-day manhunt, including a high-speed chase down Highway 11, before dying in RCMP custody shortly after being arrested.

On Thursday morning, the RCMP publicly released three separate documents.

The first was an internal review of the RCMP’s response to the tragedy conducted by Alberta RCMP Office of Standards and Practices (OSIP).

OSIP Report findings

The internal report is a lengthy report reiterating, in detail, the RCMP response to the tragedy.

According to the RCMP, the review highlights “what was effective, what improvements can be made, and to provide realistic and meaningful recommendations.”

The report says “on a broad level” it did not identify any underlying circumstances that significantly impeded the RCMP’s ability to manage and respond to the tragedy. However, it did identify both key areas for growth along with key effective practices to guide the RCMP in future tragic events.

Key areas for growth

  • Establishment of a command structure for major events
  • Improving community relationship
  • Conducting thorough risk assessments
  • Rectifying communication and analytical gaps related to the triaging of high volume tip information
  • Improvements to the Division Emergency Operations Centre
  • Enhancement of police radio coverage and interoperability

Key effective practices

  • The efficiency of sharing pertinent information with the public
  • Conducting tabletop exercises with senior officers
  • The delegation of tasking
  • The early establishment of victim support roles
  • Incorporating culturally appropriate resources in key positions to ensure consistent communication and culturally sensitive practices
  • Overall demonstration of strong senior management relations, and strong working relations with external partners and RCMP Divisions.

In conclusion, the report pointed to a number of tragic events the Saskatchewan RCMP has had to respond to in recent years including the James Smith tragedy, the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in 2018, and the La Loche school shootings in 2016.

It is the reports hope that “reviews of this nature can result in meaningful changes to police responses to mass casualty events and other major events alike.”

The report can be found in its entirety here:

1. Review Report and Responses

RCMP response to inquest recommendations

The other two documents were the Saskatchewan RCMP’s response to recommendations from two separate public inquests in to the mass stabbing event on James Smith Cree Nation and in the community of Weldon. One inquest focused on the time leading up to the tragedy, while the other focused on the three day manhunt for culprit Myles Sanderson and his eventual death in RCMP custody.

The first inquest provided 29 total recommendations with the second inquest providing 4 more. Of the total recommendations between the two inquests, 11 were directed to the RCMP specifically.

In the RCMP’s response to the recommendations, the RCMP says they agree with most of the recommendations and provided steps they are taking toward the recommendation’s implementation or how the recommendation was being practiced already.

In a few examples, the RCMP says they agree with the recommendation in principle, but pointed to issues in fully implementing the recommendation. One example of this, was a recommendation that the RCMP prioritize apprehension targets so that individuals who are repeat domestic offenders would be ranked higher. The issue the RCMP noted was that domestic violence is not considered in the violence prioritization matrix, and it would be too labour intensive to input the information manually. The RCMP does say it’s open to exploring the recommendations, but it would be a lengthy process in properly determining the information is added appropriately.

The RCMP did have one recommendation that they say can not be implemented. That was for the RCMP to consider implementing mandatory enhanced driver training including the “PIT Maneuver” The public heard, at one of the inquest, that an RCMP officer successfully undertook the maneuver to immobilize the vehicle Myles Sanderson was driving in. The RCMP says the PIT maneuver cannot be a component of advanced driver training because conducting the technique at a speed greater than 80km/hr is considered an application of lethal force.

The responses to the inquest recommendations can be found here.

2. First Coroners Inquest Responses

3. Second Inquest-FR