The number of mental health calls in the RCMP’s first quarterly crime statistics has prompted the Regional District of Central Kootenay board to request the RCMP division commander to appear at an upcoming meeting.

RCMP quarterly reports raise concerns for RDCK

Many directors were alarmed by the number of mental health calls for service in January through March.

RCMP first quarterly crime statistics generated enough discussion among Regional District  of Central Kootenay directors last week that the board will invite the region’s top Mountie to attend an upcoming meeting to address some of their concerns.

Many directors were alarmed by the number of mental health calls for service in January through March. The largest number of Nelson and Kaslo’s calls were for mental health issues.

The Nelson detachment had 32 mental health calls and 31 involving alcohol and drugs. Kaslo was close behind with 30 mental health calls and 19 for alcohol and drugs. Salmo had 10 mental health calls but 33  involving alcohol and /or drugs.

Salmo mayor Stephen White said he meets with local detachment regularly and his concern is not about police staffing but health.

“So much of this is about health, not policing,” said White. “Our local RCMP detachment estimates 70 per cent of their calls have some element of mental health issues, including addictions. It’s having an effect.”

In a meeting with Insp. Tom Roy, the regional commander, White was given the example of two officers spending entire shifts at the Trail mental health unit, sitting with someone in crisis, waiting for them to be admitted. And this takes the officers from other policing issues which need attention.

White supports bringing this information into discussions with Interior Health. In further discussions with the local RCMP detachment, White said they have noticed the difference it makes anytime residents and the RCMP can get can support from Interior Health.

“Mental health concerns have fallen off the edge of the table of higher orders and landed on our shoulders,” he said.

“It’s not a matter of policing and crime, it’s a health issue and a lack of health resources. We would support initiatives that would include mental health workers who would be on call to assist the RCMP, like a return call to a familiar address.

“When we have qualified volunteers, like social workers, working with our local detachment, they have regular contact. [They are] not isolated, not cut off and that can change a lot. It makes them more likely to reach out when they need it and hopefully have some better outcomes.”

Rural Salmo director Hans Cunningham suggested a regional representative would be helpful “as we can address the larger issues like mental health.”

Rural Nelson director Ramona Faust said according to the RCMP commander and the city’s police chief, there are “huge staffing problems,” adding “the hierarchy of attention is not satisfactory.”

Both East Shore director Garry Jackman and Creston director Ron Toyota suggested keeping in contact with local RCMP representatives as well, to get more information about potential detachment vacancies.

Rural Castlegar has highest rate of motor vehicle incidents

Part of the discussion included references to the 2014 emergency services annual report by regional district fire chief Terry Swan.

Area I director Andy Davidoff was shocked by the more than 40 motor vehicle accidents in the rural Castlegar area.

“It’s the highest number in the region,” said Davidoff. “It’s a very troubling statistic.”

In 2014, the Tarrys Fire Department responded to 42 accidents out of a total of 231 responses by 18 rural RDCK fire departments.

The department responds to crashes from the Brilliant dam to Beasley and partway up the Slocan Valley if the jaws of life are required.

“We’re not talking the City of Castlegar or Nelson,” he said, adding “for volunteers to have to responded to 42 incidents in a year is a lot of pressure.”

And he points out this is just motor vehicle incidents.

Davidoff has been in discussions with Roy and Southeast BC Chief Supt. Frank Smart.

“We have to work together to reduce this number,” he said, unsure if it’s road maintenance or highway speed.

“These aren’t mountain roads, it’s relatively flat,” he said. “We’re not in Beasley where it can be pretty rough.”

“Is it a matter of having more resources for more traffic control or investing in reader board where people see their speeds? Or is it a road condition or maintenance issue?

“Is it a matter of patrols? They are not getting the resources they need to patrol. RCMP get their budget and that’s what they get.”

An RCMP spokesman had not responded by press time to an inquiry about staffing policies and budgeting.

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

Just Posted

Castlegar musician holding benefit launch party

Steve Marc is releasing his album Feb 21

Supreme Court of Canada will hear Sinixt appeal May 12

B.C. has appealed aboriginal hunting case through several levels of court starting in Nelson in 2016

Burglar swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

Shuttle service at Trail hospital will remain for now

“ … shuttle service will remain in place while work on the new drop-off area … continues.”

Fire destroys Fauquier restaurant

Early-morning blaze destroys Mushroom Addition

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

UPDATE: Two missing scout leaders found near Sooke after swollen creek traps troop

Third leader and scouts located, prior to search for two leaders who’d gone for help

Most Read