Criminals in Mistissini beware; the police are soon to be equipped with weapons that are traditionally used by SWAT teams. These weapons are the latest tools in crime fighting on Native reserves. The weapons include a bean bag gun, a taser gun, and what is known as an Arwin, a weapon that launches 40-millimetre rubber bullets.

Police have yet to be certified for usage of these weapons, but it shouldn’t be very much longer before they are, said Mistissini Police Chief Calvin Blacksmith.

“There were some people who thought that we shouldn’t have these types of weapons, that they should only be available to swat teams, but we feel that they will help the officers when dealing with people who won’t listen to reason and have to be taken down by force.”

The main reason the police requested these new weapons was to reduce the time between when the crime occurs and when it is brought to a halt. Last May’s shooting incidents could have been dealt with in a more efficient manner if these weapons were available to the police, said Blacksmith.

With them, the police won’t have to wait for the SWAT team to arrive from Chibougamau before they can act.

“These weapons do not project deadly force, so by using them we will be able to stop the incident quickly, with minimal harm done to neither the public nor the assailant,” said Blacksmith.

In other communities, these weapons have proven to be highly effective in neutralizing criminals, and ending armed conflicts in the safest manner possible.