'Combative' woman bear sprays Vancouver police
File photo of a can of bear spray being discharged. (Alaska Star, Matt Tunseth)
A Vancouver police officer was assaulted with bear spray during an arrest on the Granville Strip, according to authorities.
The Vancouver Police Department said the acting sergeant noticed a woman who was wanted on a province-wide warrant on Granville and Davie streets 6:30 pm. Friday.
The "combative female" began to fight when the officer tried to arrest her, according to the VPD.
The female officer was working alone and requested emergency back-up as the woman continued to resist arrest.
Authorities said the woman had a can of bear spray and attempted to spray it at passersby and the acting sergeant.
The bear spray was discharged into the officer's eyes and she was "immediately blinded." But she still managed to hold onto the suspect until more officers arrived on scene.
The woman was eventually arrested and taken into custody.
“Officers are aware of the risks they may encounter while on duty,” said Sgt. Aaron Roed. “However, it’s always very difficult to hear about an officer getting injured during the course of their duties.”
The officer was taken to hospital after the fight and was released later that evening.
"In regards to the bear spray, it is a very traumatic and painful experience to go through. I'm not going to speculate on what her recovery will be, but she also sustained other injuries which she's having to deal with," Roed said.
Janine Renata Firth, a 36-year-old Vancouver resident, is facing multiple charges, including carry/use/threaten to use a weapon in assaulting a peace officer, resist arrest and possession of a weapon.
Firth remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, Sept. 17.