Posted on 19 September 2012 by Keith Lacey
After 10 years of operating a regional policing model, where officers answered calls in Osoyoos and Oliver, the RCMP is reverting back to a standalone detachment, effective Dec. 1, Sgt. Kevin Schur told members of Osoyoos town council Monday.
Schur, who is the Osoyoos detachment commander, said for the past decade, officers based in Osoyoos would answer calls and complaints in Oliver as well as in Osoyoos, but that’s about to change as the six constables and one corporal who work with him here in town will answer only local calls starting in December.
During his quarterly presentation to members of town council, Schur said RCMP brass have made the decision to reduce the regional policing model that has been in place for over a decade.
“We were a standalone detachment before we combined services 10 years ago,” said Schur. “Effective Dec. 1, Osoyoos members will work only in Osoyoos.”
The electronic files shared by both detachments should all be transferred to the Osoyoos detachment by early next year, said Schur.
The “biggest benefit” of this change in structure will be allowing local members to become more actively involved in community policing initiatives and have a more noticeable public presence by increasing foot patrols in the downtown core and public beaches, said Schur.
Under the current model, officers were kept extremely busy answering calls in both communities, he said.
“We just haven’t had the time to do community policing,” he said. “Between Osoyoos and Oliver, there was always something going on.”
Schur said he’s personally looking forward to the changes.
“I hope we can be more responsive to this community’s needs … all the time,” he said.
Between April and June, overall crime statistics in Osoyoos increased 20 per cent, but this was caused by an enhanced enforcement initiative approved by town council, where RCMP members were asked to increase enforcement in town parks and on town beaches due to numerous complaints by members of the public relating to rowdy and illegal behaviour, said Schur.
“The stats increase … was all self-generated stuff,” he said. “We had police out on the streets before the calls came in. That’s why we had such a big increase in our stats, which is good.”
There wasn’t a single sexual assault or major file relating to violence the entire summer in Osoyoos, which is highly unusual considering the number of tourists who flock here every year, said Schur.
“We didn’t have one, which is quite encouraging,” he said.
When it comes to impaired driving, the statistics remain discouraging as five people were issued 90-day suspensions and seven impaired driving charges were laid during the second quarter of this year, said Schur.
“The largest numbers were visitors to Osoyoos and very few locals were charged,” he said.
The local detachment is hoping to conduct more regular marine patrols starting next spring and that should be made easier with the new management structure as you need two officers on the boat to conduct these patrols, he said.
Officers from the local detachment have worked with provincial and federal agencies on drug enforcement initiatives and this will continue moving forward, said Schur.