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Out-of-town cops won’t patrol streets during 2010 Games

Most of the massive workforce needed to secure the Olympics will be in place by the end of January.

But Vancouver residents won’t see out-of-town cops keeping order on the streets, a Games security spokesperson said Tuesday.

“That’s a question we get asked locally a lot,” RCMP Staff Sergeant Mike Cote told reporters. “’What does a Winnipeg city police officer know about patrolling the streets of Vancouver?’ Well, they won’t be.”

Securing the 2010 Winter Games is a colossal $900 million operation. The Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit will be comprised of 4,500 military personnel, 5,000 private security officers, and 6,000 police from across the country.

Several observers have worried that out-of-towners might not have the experience to interact properly with local protesters or the Downtown Eastside. They’ve fretted that misunderstandings could lead to clashes.

Cote was clear that only local officers will police local streets. Most ISU forces will be deployed within the security zones of 30 Olympic venues such as the Richmond Oval and International Media Centre.

“Those officers coming from across Canada will be wearing their own uniforms,” Cote said. “But they’ll be working within the perimeters of the venues.”

Games spectators can expect screening procedures similar to an airport, Cote added.

He was unapologetic about what will likely be a very visible security force.

“It’s certainly an area where we can’t cut corners. We all know the times we live in. It’s a necessity,” he said.

Geoff Dembicki reports for the Tyee.

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