Constable Rob Dupuis was part of the Safe Driving Week initiative to combat drinking and driving in Vanderhoof from Dec. 1 to 7.

Constable Rob Dupuis was part of the Safe Driving Week initiative to combat drinking and driving in Vanderhoof from Dec. 1 to 7.

Coordinator position may boost RCMP

The District of Vanderhoof heard from local RCMP about a job that would be filled by a citizen but would be like adding another RCMP member.

On Monday, December 2 the District of Vanderhoof heard from Sgt. Jason Keays and Cpl. Justin Thiessen about a new idea that would, in effect, add another member to the Vanderhoof RCMP Detachment.

The two RCMP members presented to Vanderhoof council a plan which would add a position to the district called the Safer Communities Coordinator.

This position would have access to the detachment but would be more of a member of the community. They would know the community and be able to coordinate the efforts of the Vanderhoof Crime Watch, the Rural Crime Watch and Citizens on Patrol, among others, all from an RCMP policing perspective.

Sgt. Keays said at council that if Vanderhoof won’t be receiving more officers to deal with the high call volume then this would be a proactive measure. Keays said he believes the position would be as good as adding one policeman and would free the RCMP to do the core policing work.

Councillor Steve Little and other members of council voiced concerns regarding how the position would be paid for and whether this would mean that Vanderhoof would no longer be on the list of communities that have a greater need for more officers.

“It still comes down to, we’re short on police, that’s more of a priority,” said Little. “I understand the coordinator position but I still figure we’re short three or four police officers, how do we get them?”

“It’s no secret that Vanderhoof needs more members,” said Keays in council. “I know that we have to keep working on that but this is something that we can do in the meantime.”

Cpl. Thiessen’s recommendations are that this program should be on a two year contractual basis and the position would be paid for by the District of Vanderhoof.

Cpl. Thiessen said that he spent five years in William’s Lake while it was going through a transitional period. He said that he got there in the days when it was very busy and he saw the elements that worked successfully there.

Thiessen brought up the unfortunate fact of a low officer retention rate in Vanderhoof, most likely caused by the higher call volumes and file loads found here.

“We’re facing a retention of members problem,” said Cpl. Thiessen in council. “I heard Mayor Thiessen say that once there were policemen who would be in this community for 10 to 12 years. We’re not retaining the members in that fashion. If they had that local person, then at least there’s still some consistency in the program and any incoming detachment commander would have that local contact.”

The Vanderhoof detachment was audited last week in order to determine if more members were truly needed and how many it would take to cover the immense call load that Vanderhoof RCMP officers have to deal with.

The audit was something that Mayor Thiessen said they had been asking for in Vanderhoof for about four or five years.

“We want to see what that audit says and hear back from Superintendent Rod Booth,” said Thiessen. “We thought we would have some opportunity to be involved but my hope is that the numbers will come out soon and the superintendent will act accordingly to make sure we’re covered to the same degree as other communities.”

Mayor Thiessen wanted to stress that Vanderhoof isn’t just looking for more RCMP, like many other communities, but enough RCMP to accommodate the population and case load.

The Safer Communities program will now be discussed by the district council and its future will determined during budget discussions.

 

Just Posted

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. Northern Health confirmed it has the lowest vaccination rates amongst the province’s five regional health authorities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination rates in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St James well below provincial average

COVID-19 immunization clinics for youth 12+ coming up in Fort St. James

Steve McAdam (left) is studying substrate conditions in the Nechako River and how they impact sturgeon eggs. The work will help design habitat restoration measures, said McAdam. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Sturgeon egg studies to help inform future habitat restoration

“It’s an interesting, challenging issue,” says Steve McAdam

Saik’uz First Nation Coun. Jasmine Thomas and Chief Priscilla Mueller speak about the need for addiction treatment facility near Vanderhoof, March 2021. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof addiction treatment centre tries again with ministry support

Agriculture minister insists she is not interfering in land commission

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read