Wednesday, April 11, 2012

RCMP Report

April 11, 2012 Dear Mr. Tieleman, You mentioned the Tofino RCMP "have a program for needy people to get lights and bike helmets". To clarify, Yes we have in past year provided 11 bicycle helmets, approximately 50 light sets, a half dozen bicycle locks and two bicycles. The only criteria for receiving these items were that the the recipient be a District of Tofino resident, and in the case of the lights, be > 14 yrs of age. We started this initiative before the unfortunate passing of pedestrian Robert MacInnes in September, 2011. Tofino has a unique vehicle and bicycle flow. I'm sure we have all witnessed potentially dangerous situations when the two transportation modes mix. Personally, in my 25 years + as a general duty RCMP police officer, I have investigated the death of four bicycle riders. I don't want my career to have 5, or more, such investigations, hence I have encouraged the detachment to take upon the initiatives cited above. Last night I sought funds from the District of Tofino to continue with our bicycle safety initiative for the 2012/2013 year. At this time I do not know the outcome of my request. Other: Last night Council recommended that the Tofino RCMP use web based mediums to access and inform Tofino Residents and Visitors as to Tofino RCMP Public Policing Priorities and Issues. My presentation papers can be viewed at: Following is a summary of my presentation regarding policing priorities and issues within the District of Tofino: 1. Tofino RCMP Coverage: Tofino RCMP Detachment is responsible for policing services from mid-Long Beach, Pacific Rim National Park north, through Esowista, District of Tofino, Opitsaht, Ahousaht, Hot Spring Cove, and rural areas in these vicinities. 2. Tofino RCMP Personnel Strength: to address the policing area noted above we have a Sgt, a Corporal, and 4 Constables in Tofino. In our sub-detachment in Ahousaht we have a Cpl and 3 Constables. The Ahoushat unit primarily addresses policing needs in Ahousaht and Hot Springs Cove. In the past year we have incurred personnel shortages. Tofino RCMP Detachment has been without a Sgt since June, 2011, upon the departure of Sgt Jeff Preston. The incumbent Sgt could not sell his Duncan, BC, house, thus could not relocate to Tofino and the Tofino RCMP Sgt position remained unfilled. This left myself (Cpl Waddell) responsible for managing Tofino policing services, along with maintaining some of my existing Cpl duties, in the absence of a Sgt. Good News: Next week we expect the arrival of Sgt Jim Anderson. Some of your readers may know Jim formerly as Cpl Jim Anderson whom I replaced in Tofino in August, 2010. Jim and his wife are very eager to return to Tofino and are looking forward to re-activating their Tofino residency. In the past year we have had our struggles with maintaining the minimum levels of police officer locally and in Ahousaht. For a few months Ahousaht was only staffed with 2 police officers. This is an operational challenge as I must have ensure police officers get their entitled rest, but maintain minimum police officers in a community and available for service at 2 or more officers. The minimum level was maintained by bringing police officers in to Ahousaht from Tofino or neighbouring detachments. At times staffing levels made it so that Ahousaht calls-for-service were managed from the Tofino Detachment. Good news: Ahousaht is now staffed with 3 police officers. We are hopeful their 4th officer will be here later this spring or early summer. Crime Levels I presented to the Mayor and Council a break down of some key statistic information in regards to policing in the District of Tofino for the past fiscal year (March 1, 2011, to April 31, 2012). Based upon this information, and my experience in policing in smaller and larger, and less and more remote, communities, I was able to tell the Mayor and Council that for the most part the District has a relatively low serious crime rate. Last year we had 28 reports of Common Assault. All were resolved by Criminal Code charges, or the complainant not wishing to pursue charges. Only one matter that occurred at the closing of the bar remains unsolved. We had two reports of sexual assault. In both cases the accused and the victim knew one another. In both matters the accused has been charged criminally. The elements of the crime do not suggest there is a community risk. We had 23 incidents of Impaired Driving last year. 11 of these were handled by the since suspended Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program. 4 were processed by Criminal Code charge. The remainder were deemed unfounded or impairment was not sufficient to warrant a charge. I mentioned that it is believed the IRP will be returning in the late spring of this year. Myself and Cst Matt Hartwig have been identified to receive training on the new program. Marijuana Possession: 13 individuals were charged for marijuana possession. Open Liquor: 141 persons were charged for open liquor Bylaws: we had 38 calls for Noise violations. 2 persons were charged. There were 28 calls for other bylaw matters; ie. parking or illegal camping. Major Files Two of our major files last year were; the Murder of Raymond SAM in Ahousaht. Tofino RCMP police officers were required to attend immediately and provided supporting policing services thereafter. Tofino RCMP Cst Jordan MacKellar is the exhibit custodian which is a role that requires exacting documentation and exhibit care. Jordan continues to be tasked with duties relating to his role in the investigation. The second major file involved the passing of pedestrian Robert MacInnes. This investigation remains active. Tofino RCMP are awaiting the RCMP Traffic Collision Analyst report before deciding upon the next course of action. Calls for Service Volumes Presented was a graph that showed the calls-for-service peaked for Tofino RCMP in August, 2011. Higher than normal levels of calls existed between May and the end of September. POLICING PRIORITIES BC RCMP Headquarters (E Division) has listed the policing priorities for the BC RCMP as: 1. Organized Crime, Gangs and gun violence 2. Community Policing 3. First Nations Policing 4. Diverse Communities 5. Family Violence 6. Road Safety 7. Crime Reduction Based upon our community Town Hall meeting, held in late 2011, a review of the year's statistical information, and E Divisions policing priority, I proposed to the Mayor and Council these Tofino RCMP policing priorities: 1. Impaired and Distracted Driving (cell phones, etc) 2. Liquor Control Act, especially interception of liquor leaving Tofino to our off shore communities. Unfortunately, abuse of liquor in our off shore communities is a factor in more serious matters that have an impact on Tofino RCMP and other emergency agencies. 3. Increased investigation in relation to illegal drugs. This would also support the message conveyed by Cst Sascha Banks during her DARE instruction at Wickaninnish Elementary. The Mayor and Council did not have questions, nor did they indicate any concerns, regarding these priorities. I mentioned to the Mayor and Council that Bylaw enforcement is not a RCMP policing priority. We do get calls for illegal campers, camp fires, pets, and parked vehicles. Our process is to direct the caller to the District Bylaw Department. FUNDING REQUESTS I submitted to council 3 requests for funding. Request 1 Extra Policing Funds In past years the District of Tofino has provided $10,000.00 for extra (summer) policing patrols. These funds are used to have officers patrol during special events and or extra patrols to our parks and beaches. Last year the Tofino RCMP used $5,700.00 of these funds. The District of Tofino has a positive balance of approximately $4,300.00 with the Provincial Government. The Mayor and Council were requested should they grant monies for this year to not pay until billed by the BC Government. At that time they will be billed at 70% as per the Provincial Policing Agreement. This will make a contribution of $10,000.00 equate to $14,286.00 Request 2 Media Strategy I discussed with the Mayor and Council one of the largest struggles we have within the community is informing residents and visitors that like the rest of BC open liquor in public places is illegal. This includes beaches, parks and road ways. Given the constant turnover of visitors the RCMP has to constantly educate people regarding Provincial liquor laws, and that beach fires after 11PM are illegal , and never permitted on Tonquin or Cox Bay Beaches. I requested funds from the Mayor and Council to cover radio ads, and the publication of 10,000 keep sake Tofino picture book markers with a picture of Tofino on the face and the public safety message regarding liquor and beach fires printed on the back side. These would be distributed to tourists and tourist businesses, to further spread the information regarding open liquor and beach fires. Funds sought: Radio Ads: $940.80 Book Markers (10,000): $808.80 Total: $1,749.60 Feedback was received from council to consider using www travel sites and Tourism Tofino when informing the public as to these laws. Request 3 Bicycle Patrol Having spent the best part of the bicycle budget to provide residents with helmets, lights, locks, and in 2 cases bicycles, I sought from Council their consideration to fund the bicycle patrol element of the Tofino RCMP so that we could continue with our bicycle information and safety initiatives. Funds sought: Helmet program: $350.00 Light program: $750.00 Sponsored Cyclist program: $250.00 RCMP Bicycle Maintenance: $350.00 Total: $1,700.00 Comments, Questions & Concerns The Tofino RCMP invite and welcome public input regarding the policing of your community. Those so interested are encouraged to attend the Tofino RCMP Detachment at 400 Campbell Street, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0, to discuss these with myself or an available on duty police officer. Should you wish to schedule an appointment time please call the detachment at 250-725-3242. Thank-you for allowing myself this opportunity to inform our community as to local policing priorities and initiatives. Yours truly, Andrew Waddell Cpl Tofino RCMP

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