Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Council hears of enforcement work and training program from RCMP Detachment Commander Walker

Sergeant Gerry Walker of the Prince Rupert RCMP detachment provided
an overview of Operations and other themes for Council on Monday evening

An update on the work of the members of the Prince Rupert Detachment of the RCMP was the lead off item from a Busy and long Monday evening City Council session, with Sergeant Gerry Walker the city's Top Cop providing for a twenty-five minute review and  Q and A with council members. 

His presentation provided an overview of developments with the Detachment in the community, starting with the findings of a survey that was conducted to gauge the impressions of the public on policing in the community.

Among the top three priorities identified from the survey were Crimes against persons, Drug Trafficking Sexual offences, improving community relations, traffic enforcement was also a frequently noted part of the survey results..

Some of the areas noted for enforcement included the recent warrant execution on Third Avenue West which saw a local business closed and charges pending for a range of offences. 

The execution of a warrant last week on a downtown business
establishment made for a mention at Monday's Council update

The topic of the City's Five Corners made for an area of note for Sergeant Walker, who noted of the increased volume of patrols and actions that have taken place in that particular area of the city, though he noted the last weekend had been a particularly busy one for the area.

On Crime Reduction and Pro-active enforcement he observed on some of the work the local members put in.

"Each watch has their projects that they'll work on, our General Investigation Section will have those, we want to increase that number and get to towards that proactive policing side of stuff.

A set number of check stops that would be expected from each watch and the members, and/or traffic enforcement campaigns ... 

Increased the number of foot patrols, and we've done a fair bit more of those you should have seen a fair bit more around, Five Corners is looking better, this weekend was an exception it was very busy this weekend, but we have been spending a lot more time down there" -- Sergeant Gerry Walker Prince Rupert RCMP

From that the Sergeant outlined the nature of the Policing Performance plan for the community, he noted of some recent enforcement work, traffic related themes and expansion of the foot patrol program from his list of items.

He explained on the training program and mentorship themes that the Detachment has put in place observing how the detachment is mostly a placement for first positions for members with only a few exceptions of the complement that numbers 34 at full staffing. 

He noted of some of the challenges towards reaching the full level of members assigned to the detachment and how he continues to work to be the squeaky wheel that gets the additional bodies required.

"We're looking at how do we develop in house, so we have in the city it's pretty well everybody's first spot. So pretty much every Constable, I think we have three that it's not their first detachment. Our corporals are primarily new corporals too. So really a developmental detachment"

The Detachment head also outlined some of the community engagement initiatives that the local members have taken on around the region.

Towards reconciliation themes he noted of the Restorative Justice program in the city and initiatives at the detachment level to expand Indigenous related knowledge of the region for the members as a goal for this year.

Work continues on the new RCMP detachment in Prince Rupert.

Sergeant  Walker also noted of the progress for the new detachment building at McBride and Third Avenue West.

"It's moving along, I've been involved in a number of meetings towards that and we're pretty close to a finalized floor plan and the walls are going up so that's great"

Towards questions, from Councillor Forster he spoke to the work on reconciliation, as well as to how social media video perceptions don't capture a whole incident; along with how he and the detachment review practices from those interactions.

"Any of those I look at, I try to attend, I obviously see the same stuff online. You know I always caution everybody that it it's 50 seconds of a two minute encounter you never get the first minute and ten that shows the whole story.

At the same time we review those, we'll often go through our Professional Responsibilities Unit to make sure that everything is kosher, or above board.

And then ... we talk about things at morning briefing every morning we have a briefing , where we discuss things that have happened things moving forward and ways that we can approach different things" -- Sergeant Gerry Walker Prince Rupert RCMP

Councillor Adey spoke to training themes and the volume of first time placements for recruits in Prince Rupert and what they have found challenging and rewarding from their postings.

He outlined how the more engaged in the community they become helps to give them a view of the more positive side of policing, for challenges he noted of the administrative themes and some of the personal dynamics of the members.

A question on e-bikes and complaints about them, had the Sergeant observing he would have to learn a bit more about the topic and get back to council on an approach towards them.

Social and law enforcement issues related to Five Corners made
for a topic at Monday's Council update

Councillor Niesh picked up on comments earlier about enforcement themes in the Five Corners area, asking for some more details related to that area, noting how it was one of the top areas he heard complaints about.

"You had mentioned Five Corners, obviously that's an area that I probably get the most complaints from people. What are you doing down there to kind of get the people to move along ... it just seems to be you know a lot going on at Five Corners all the time and it doesn't seem to be getting much better. What is it that you're doing to improve the area?"     -- Councillor Wade Niesh

The Sergeant outlined how members make frequent patrols, pour out liquor regularly and  have handed out tickets. He observed some of the issues are social concerns adding that the Detachment members have been called to that area or made a point of patrolling it more and providing for more of a presence.

The Mayor asked about vacancies, of the full complement status the current roster is at 31 though there are always challenges in the flux of the detachment complement.

Councillor Cunningham asked about the ability to make use of the Rural and marine elements, he also observed of having seen the RCMP members at Five corners and the frustrations that they must find with the ongoing  situation.

You can review the full presentation, along with questions from Council through the City's Video Archive, the Sergeant opens the Council work for the night.

More notes related to the Council Session can be reviewed here.

A look at the work of Emergency Responders across the Northwest can be explored here.

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