The RCMP are aiming to complete the expedited review of the Moncton shootings by the end of October, around the same time a judge will consider the killer's punishment at what is bound to be a dramatic sentencing in the New Brunswick city.
Staff Sergeant Abe Townsend, who heads the RCMP's Staff Relations Representative (SRR) Program, said the report is still in draft form but should be finalized toward the end of the month. Two members of the SRR, an elected body representing the national police force, are part of the review team.
On Monday, an RCMP spokesman confirmed the report, which will make recommendations, is expected "shortly."
In late June, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson took the rare step of launching the accelerated review, which was originally expected to conclude within 90 days but has since passed that notional deadline. Commissioner Paulson promised the probe would examine "all aspects" of the June 4 mass shooting, from the initial and longer-term response, to training, equipment and whether the shooter's actions could have reasonably been foreseen.
"This was a complex file to review," Sgt. Greg Cox, the RCMP spokesman, said in an e-mail. He noted the "information" will be shared with the victims' families and the Maritimes' Codiac detachment "prior to any release."
Staff Sgt. Townsend, who has not seen the draft report, said the document is expected to address a wide range of policing issues, including improved access to hard body armour and carbines, a type of high-powered patrol gun recommended after the 2005 deaths of four Mounties in Mayerthorpe, Alta.
According to Commissioner Paulson's internal June 25 e-mail announcing the probe, the New Brunswick division was believed to be in its "early days" of rolling out the carbine at the time of the shootings, with four of the Codiac detachment's 141 officers trained in using the weapon. As for the hard body armour, the commissioner said all patrol vehicles and traffic cars, except three, had one set of the protective gear.
"Clearly the death of our three members in the course of duty and the near deaths of others demand that we seek to fully understand the facts, learn from them and if required, change our practices promptly," Commissioner Paulson wrote to RCMP members.
His e-mail also said the man leading the internal review, retired assistant RCMP commissioner Phonse MacNeil, would "provide some relevant and reasonable recommendations in short order." Mr. MacNeil and his team have since spent a significant amount of time on the ground in Moncton conducting their research and analysis.
The expedited review is one of several launched in the wake of the shootings, including longer-term probes by Employment and Social Development Canada and the RCMP's hazardous occurrence investigation team. In announcing the separate review under Mr. MacNeil, Commissioner Paulson made clear he wanted results sooner rather than later, saying it's important that the force "do this analysis and make any necessary changes long before the court process concludes."
In early August, Justin Bourque pleaded guilty to killing Constables Dave Ross, Douglas Larche and Fabrice Gévaudan, and wounding Constables Eric Dubois and Darlene Goguen. The conclusion of the internal review, then, could end up coinciding with Mr. Bourque's high-profile sentencing, during which evidence will be presented and victim-impact statements submitted.
The Crown has given notice it will seek three consecutive life sentences for the first-degree murder charges, without parole. If the judge honours the request, which amounts to 75 years of jail time, the sentence will be Canada's most severe penalty since the last execution in 1962.