Citing public and officer safety, all conservation officers in Saskatchewan will be receiving new carbine rifles by March 1st.

Many conservation officers work in remote areas where wildlife can be a factor, or where it could take some time for any kind of backup to arrive if the officer should encounter a dangerous individual.

Daryl Minter, inspector with the Conservation Officer Service for the Ministry of Environment, says training will begin shortly.

"We have 13 conservation officers that are trained to the Saskatchewan Police College standard as instructors and they will be delivering the training to the remaining officers is our agency. It is a 40-hour course that tests safety, handling skills, familiarization of firearms, and proficiency".

"The expected delivery date for the rifles would be by March 1, 2019. We've actually got 15 currently being delivered and the remaining 132 are expected to be delivered by March 1".

According to the Ministry of Environment, training is set to begin in April and all officers will have received the appropriate training by late September. Officers will receive the new rifles after training is complete and they receive their certification.  

Minter explains why the decision was made.

"Following the 2014 shooting death of 3 Mounties in Moncton, New Brunswick, the provincial court of New Brunswick recommended that all front line law enforcement officers be armed with patrol rifles. As a result of that most enforcement agencies across the country have equipped their officers with the rifles".

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