The Saskatchewan government has cleared regular officers in municipal police departments to use carbine rifles.
However, front-line officers will have have to go through a training course before they can use the high-powered, semi-automatic rifles.
Cabinet approved a change to Municipal Police Equipment Amendment Regulations last month, setting the stage for regular police to use the short-barreled rifles, according to a June 26 order in council.
Carbines, such as the Colt C-8, are used by emergency response teams, but not patrol officers
Police associations have been calling for their wider use in the wake of police shootings and confrontations where suspects are better armed than they are.
One of those groups is the Saskatchewan Association Chiefs of Police, whose members have been advocating for 15 years for officers to be equipped with carbine rifles.
Now, they’re getting their wish.
Although the order in council has been passed, members of Saskatchewan police services must successfully complete training in the use of patrol carbines to the standards of the Saskatchewan Police College, the province says.
According to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice, a carbine training course is being developed and training is expected to begin in the fall.
The rule change applies to municipal and First Nations police forces. The RCMP is already moving to distribute more carbines to its front-line members.