RCMP Southeast District Commander, Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

RCMP Southeast District Commander, Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Kelowna RCMP commander calls for more nurses during wellness checks after complaint

Southeast District Commander wants to increase Police and Crisis Team program

In one of only a few appearances since gaining his position with the RCMP five years ago, Southeast Division Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli held a press conference regarding the concerns over recent incidents with law enforcement.

Haugli told reporters Thursday (June 2) that he has heard many concerns from the public, local officials, friends and family regarding the actions of several South East Division RCMP members.

“High public confidence is what we strive for, and when we become aware of concerning behaviour we need to ensure the public we are taking the necessary steps to gather all the facts, using legislative processes to make a determination on what occurred and hold our members accountable,” he explained.

This comes after a video was released last week showing Kelowna RCMP officer Const. Lacey Browning dragging UBCO student Mona Wang down a hall and pressing her head to the floor with a boot during a wellness check. Browning is facing a civil suit for that incident and a petition calling for her to be fired and charged has garnered over 350,000 signatures. Currently, Browning remains with the Kelowna detachment on desk duty.

When questioned about the video of the officer dragging the student, Haugli replied he was deeply concerned when he first viewed it.

“I am sorry to Ms. Wang for what occurred. If that was my family member or friend I would want answers as well,” he said.

A Code of Conduct investigation is underway into the incident and Haugli said because of the high priority of this investigation it will be advanced to the Abbotsford RCMP for a review. However, the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of British Columbia, a civilian-led police oversight agency responsible for conducting investigations into incidents of death or serious harm that may have been the result of the actions of a police officer, will not be investigating this incident. Haugli said despite Wang’s civil suit against the RCMP member and the detachment there was not enough reason for the IIO to become involved.

READ MORE: UBCO student sues Kelowna RCMP officer for alleged assault during wellness check

The investigation will be handed over to Crown Counsel, which should conclude sometime in July, according to Haugli.

“Given the UBCO case and other wellness check cases highlighted throughout this country my team and I feel it is of the utmost importance to expand the best practices of the Police and Crisis Team program (PACT) in the Southeast District,” said Haugli. “Generally mental health-related calls for service on the Southeast District are increasing. We are especially seeing an increase during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The PACT consists of a dedicated psychiatric nurse and a specially trained RCMP officer who patrols the streets and responds to calls.

In the last four years, there has been a 21 per cent increase in mental health check occurrences. In the first five months of 2020, the Southeast District of the RCMP experienced 6,446 occurrences and in May the highest number ever of mental health check occurrences was recorded, totalling 1,456.

Haugli expressed RCMP should be a support mechanism when calls come in for people in crisis and such calls “should and could be assessed by a trained mental health worker.”

“My goal is to greatly expand this needed service (PACT) in existing locations and it is not always available, and introduce it in as many communities as possible,” stated Haugli.

Currently, only Kamloops and Kelowna have a PACT program.

“If there is an inability to provide a dedicated Interior Health nurse for every call, then I want to implement a real-time information-sharing model that provides our members with important health information that will ensure a wholesome assessment of the person in crisis before attended the call,” he explained.

When asked about privacy concerns prompted by such a model, which would allow RCMP officers access to personal medical records, Haugli said they’re outweighed by the wellbeing of the person in crisis.

Haugli said he is looking to work with the CEO of Interior Health to increase the PACT program, which currently only consists of one officer.

Haugli would not comment on how many officers within Southeast Division were on administrative duty at this time but said all of the region’s 1,300 officers are “concerned on the support from the public.”

“My members, in my view, are doing an exceptional job. There is a number of dedicated women and men that show up for work every day, even through the pandemic,” he added.

READ MORE: Petition calling for Kelowna Mountie to be fired, charged nears 350K signatures

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

RCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File photo
Ongoing petition for an accessible homeless shelter in Vanderhoof

The petition is addressed to Mayor Gerry Thiessen

The B.C. Government increased limited entry hunt (LEH) authorizations of cow/calf moose by 43 animals in 2020 in mountain caribou recovery areas near Revelstoke and Prince George. (Wikipedia Commons)
Cow moose and calf harvest numbers expected by May

No wolves culled yet; cull scheduled for 2021 winter

(Submitted photo)
BID delivering second state-of-art turnkey facility for Biewer Lumber

BID Group has recently received an order to deliver a second greenfield… Continue reading

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Head-on collision Jan. 14 claims one life west of Fort St. James

Jenkins said alcohol, as well as road surface conditions, have been ruled out as factors

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. turns to second doses of COVID-19 vaccine as supplies slow

Pfizer shipments down until February, to be made up in March

B.C.’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training announced funding to train community mental health workers at four B.C. post-secondary institutions. (Stock photo)
B.C. funding training of mental health workers at four post-secondary institutions

Provincial government says pandemic has intensified need for mental health supports

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
No Pfizer vaccines arriving in Canada next week; feds still expect 4M doses by end of March

More cases of U.K. variant, South African variant found in Canada

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians who have had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine, experts say

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to have a 95 per cent efficacy

An empty Peel and Sainte-Catherine street is shown in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

The poll suggests 59 per cent remain somewhat or very afraid of contracting COVID-19

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

Most Read