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.

Just Posted

Nelson honours veterans 100 years after end of WWI

Several hundred people gathered at the cenotaph on Sunday

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Nine-vehicle pileup closes Highway 3 near Castlegar

Two separate incidents on slushy highway; reports of injuries

UPDATE: Police seek witnesses in Castlegar road rampage

Lake Country man faces 13 charges, including robbery, dangerous driving, flight from police, assault with a weapon, theft, and drug charges.

RDCK removes conditions from Kalesnikoff office project

Kalesnikoff says it is still planning to move ahead with new office building project

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

VIDEO: Newcomer kids see first Canadian snowfall

Children arrived in Canada with their mother and two siblings last week from Eritrea

Calgary 2026 leader expects close vote in Winter Games plebiscite

Residents to choose in a non-binding vote on Tuesday whether they want city to bid on 2026 Olympics

Feds dropped ball with WWI anniversary tributes: historians

Wrote one historian: ‘Other than the Vimy Ridge celebration … I think they have done a very bad job’

Sides ‘far apart’ in Canada Post talks despite mediation, says union

The lack of a breakthrough means rotating strikes will resume Tuesday

Feds’ appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. to be heard

Judge ruled in January that indefinite such confinement is unconstitutional, causes permanent harm

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Shelter struggles: Landlord takes over rental unit whenever visiting B.C. town

Renter’s story highlights how hard it is to find accommodation in Revelstoke

Most Read