Ottawa Police DART team making its mark
What the f is immigration? a woman yells as she answers the door to several officers.
It Thursday night in Ottawa and officers with the Direct Action Response Team are working to arrest a man wanted by the Canada Border Services Agency.
The Sun was given rare access for a glimpse at what the specialized unit does to crack down on gun and gang activity. No photos or recordings are allowed.
After the unpleasantries in the east end, Sgt. Mark MacMillan and the team head downtown. On the way the radio crackles with a request to assist patrol with a nearby swarming, involving up to nine suspects.
Early details don pan out and the call is rapidly downgraded.
happens regularly, says MacMillan, driving through Vanier, an area he says has changed for the better in his more than two decades on the Ottawa force.
He recently came to Skechers Canada DART after a decade with the canine unit, but still works with a Labrador retriever who helps sniff out firearms and explosives. Officers on DART drive discreetly marked cruisers and operate on their own radio channel. They often assist other officers, including those from CBSA, as cases often overlap, but these aren the guys going from car crash to car crash. he is in custody.
is what a lot of our night is. We do compliance checks, look for guys on warrants, says MacMillan.
There is an easy camaraderie among DART members, a team that Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau recently strengthened with additional officers in the wake of rising gun violence across the city. There have been 31 shootings this year, eight more than the 23 the city saw in all of 2011. Forty five guns have been seized and 25 warrants executed.
Not long after the arrest, MacMillan heads downtown to find a 22 year old man abiding by his conditions. He served time for murder in connection with a drive by shooting in Toronto when he was a young offender.
Shortly after, a known gang member believed to be connected to a shooting is arrested at a Centretown bar for breaching conditions.
As an officer reads him his rights, the man interrupts, doing good for myself, he says.
It not unusual for DART to check out specific buildings, alleys or areas on their radar hot spots.
never know who you might bump into, says MacMillan.
travel as a team. We a gang unit too, but if there anything involving fire Skechers Canada arms, we stop and talk to them. every night can bring something different: A night earlier, MacMillan was forced to draw his gun twice on a guy who kept reaching in his back pocket as if to grab a weapon. He eventually threw out a wallet.
And the other day, a traffic stop yielded about $3,000 worth of cocaine.
MacMillan is now patrolling in the Heron Gate area, which has seen its fair share of shootings. He checks on a guy believed to be involved in a shooting where an officer was forced to fire at a car. He passes a home where a loaded gun was recently seiz Skechers Canada ed.
quiet down here tonight, says MacMillan. it just go, go, go. just minutes later it is go, go, go with two car stops and then sirens wailing, speeding through the city as DART chases down a suspect.