Phase II of Exercise Silver next week 

The focus of Exercise Silver, a massive security exercise involving police, soldiers, emergency crews and planners, is on communications, but there will be exercises at World Cup events in Whistler, on Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver, and at General Motors Place for figure skating.

Richmond will also be involved, although the World Cup speed skating events are taking place in March.

Sergeant Steve Wright of the Whistler RCMP detachment will be involved in the exercises over three days next week, coordinating with emergency services, the municipality, and others in a multi-jurisdictional centre created at municipal hall.

"We're looking at what resources will be available, and how we would deploy those resources," said Sgt. Wright. "We will have additional resources in Whistler during the Games, but how will we respond to emergencies? It could be a fire, it could be an accident or something to do with the military... It could be B.C. Hydro.

"We have to be ready to respond to anything. Anything and everything could be taken in these calls for services."

The RCMP are taking a lead role in the ISU, and will coordinate efforts between other agencies that may be involved in an emergency response.

Exercise Bronze took place in November 2008 and looked at security structures, while Exercise Gold is scheduled for 2009 and will confirm readiness of plans and personnel for the Games.

Sgt. Wright says the exercise is a legacy for the community that will create a template for addressing emergencies in the future, while improving communication and coordination between emergency services, governments, contractors and agencies like B.C. Hydro and the Ministry of Transportation.

"We've already had a chance to show how well organized we've become when we had the gondola accident," said Sgt. Wright. "(Emergency services) responded speedily, it was very efficient, and it worked out very well. And that was no drill."

He also says it's important to have some continuity in staffing during the Games. He has applied to have his tenure in Whistler extended through the Games. It's up to individual officers whether they want to do the same if their four-year rotation comes up, but Sgt. Wright says efforts are being made to bring officers that have served in Whistler in the past back during the Games because of their knowledge of the community and surrounding area.

"I've been involved since the beginning, and asking the question what policing will be like in Whistler during the Games," he said. "It's still a work in progress... but we have our base numbers, and a good idea how everything is going to work."

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