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Q. How many times have transit police been obliged to draw their firearms?

Answer: Whoever wants to know this is REALLY anxious to find out, as s/he has sent in this question three times over the past six months. I have not been ignoring it. It took me a while to get around to it and get answers, although I suspect the questioner won’t be satisfied with them.

(I assume all questions have agendas. There are two possible for this one: 1. To show transit police are randomly drawing their guns and are irresponsible pretend police waving their weapons arounds like kids playing cops and robbers 2. To show that transit police end up in really dangerous situations and we the public should be aware of that.)

Okay, enough with that. Here are the answers:

Anne Drennan, the former VPD media relations queen, now helping out TransLink police, found out this for me in early September:

In 2011, 19 of our members drew their firearms in 10 incidents. In 2012 thus far, 13 of our members have drawn their firearms in 8 incidents.
I then followed up by asking what the TP’s policy is on when firearms can be drawn and what kinds of incidents they have had to drawn their firearms in.
That took a while longer. I got an answer from the relatively new head of Transit Police, Neil Dubord, arrived here in February from his previous post with Edmonton police.
He said the transit-police policy on use of force “aligns with police services” and that policy is available on the website. (I found it here.) Transit police get the same training at the Justice Institute on use of weapons as regular police forces. “The training is identical.”
Some of the incidents where transit police have had to draw their guns recently: A man was spotted waving around a sword in Metrotown. He then got on SkyTrain and went down to the Burrard station. When he got there, officers had set up a containment zone and had their weapons drawn. In another, transit police got a report of a youth group with a gun (it turned out, in the end, to be fake) and officers had their weapons drawn as they approached the group at “low ready.”
Has anyone had to fire a gun so far? “By the grace of God, no,” said Dubord, who, if you hadn’t already guessed, is from Saskatchewan. (Moose Jaw, to be precise.)
Just to show you what a great command of Google I have, here is a letter from the B.C.Civil Liberties Association in 2008, complaining about the transit police use of tasers.