On guard at the Olympics

Brodie Thomas
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Local officers describe Vancouver experience

The security detail needed for the 2010 Olympic Games was unprecedented in Canadian history, and four men with connections to the southwest coast played a role in keeping the Games safe.

Three local RCMP officers as well as Canadian Forces member from the Codroy Valley were all stationed in Vancouver during the Olympic Games.

Const. Adam Gardner of the Traffic Services West division stands by the snowboarding halfpipe on Cypress Mountain in B.C.

The security detail needed for the 2010 Olympic Games was unprecedented in Canadian history, and four men with connections to the southwest coast played a role in keeping the Games safe.

Three local RCMP officers as well as Canadian Forces member from the Codroy Valley were all stationed in Vancouver during the Olympic Games.

Accommodations were scarce in the Olympic city, so organizers brought in three cruise ships to accommodate all the police. All three officers described their time in Vancouver as the experience of a lifetime.

Constable Adam Gardner with the RCMP's Traffic Services West was stationed on Cypress Mountain, the venue for many snowboarding and ski events including moguls, snowboard cross and freestyle skiing.

Const. Gardner was on snowmobile patrol. He and two other officers made sure spectators stayed in designated areas and didn't interfere with the events.

He said despite the rainy weather, people flocked to the events.

"I believe the seating for the snowboard cross and half pipe held 12,500. They filled that plus more," he said.

Despite the crowds, Const. Gardner did not encounter any trouble while on the job.

"There were no major incidents as far as I know. Not even anything really minor. Everybody was great," he said.

Because of his posting, Const. Gardner got to witness several gold medal snowboard performances, including Maelle Ricker's win for Canada and Shaun White's win for the United States.

Const. Gardner did get the occasional day off during the three weeks he was in Vancouver. He took in the sights during his free time and said the crowds downtown were huge.

"When you were downtown, there were people dressed from head to toe in red, with flags wrapped around their bodies. It was a good atmosphere to be in."

He also had time to take in the United States versus Finland hockey game.

Port aux Basques RCMP officer Shawn Skinner made it to a different hockey game during his time in Vancouver. He said there was very little demand for the Germany versus Finland game, so he got his ticket at a reduced cost.

"I'm glad I got a chance - a lot of the events were way overpriced," he said.

Const. Skinner was just outside the arena during the final gold medal game between the United States and Canada. He said the streets were packed with people watching the game on big screen televisions, and the group erupted when Sidney Crosby scored his winning goal.

Const. Skinner was part of the Quick Response Team - groups of four officers who patrolled the city in vans. They were to provide back up in an emergency, although Const. Skinner said they didn't get called to anything major.

He said it was amazing, considering that some estimates had the number of visitors to the Vancouver area at half a million.

On his days off, Const. Skinner visited the town of Gibsons, famous for being the location of the popular Canadian television show 'The Beachcombers.' He also visited family in the area.

Const. Ian Dollimount had a different posting than the other two. He was working in the command centre for the Marine Section. Their job was to monitor harbours and ports in partnership with the navy, coast guard and local harbour authorities.

Const. Dollimount didn't take in any of the sporting venues, but he did head downtown in his free time and described the crowds as "huge."

"All hours of the day and night there were people coming and going. But it was a good atmosphere overall," he said.

Major Jason Gale, formerly of Doyles, had a slightly different mission that the police. As a Canadian Forces member, his job was to support security by protecting the outer security ring around venues at Whister.

Maj. Gale, who is the son of Pauline and John Gale, and his counterparts were assigned tasks such as observation post construction, road maintenance and general carpentry tasks.

He said they stayed in a temporary camp in the forest outside whistler and operated primarily in the mountains.

"I had a couple opportunities to enter the Whistler Village and experienced the Olympic hype and energy. It was absolutely remarkable to see so many people from so many different countries united in the glow that surrounded the events," he said.

reporter@gulfnews.ca

Organizations: Olympics, RCMP, Canadian Forces Traffic Services West

Geographic location: Vancouver, United States, Codroy Valley Canada Cypress Mountain Finland Germany Whistler Village

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