Cpl. Chris Newel, Acting Operations NCO for the Kimberley RCMP Detachment, attended Council on Monday evening to deliver the third quarter policing report.
Newel will be in charge of the Kimberley Detachment until a new detachment commander arrives. The position has been filled, but the new sergeant won’t arrive until he has sold his house, which could be several months, Newel says.
With the decision to de-integrate the Kimberley and Cranbrook detachments made last summer, Kimberley will have an actual Detachment Commander. Recently retired Sgt. Laurie Jalbert was the Operations NCO with the commander in Cranbrook. The new sergeant will be the detachment commander and Newel will remain NCO.
With de-integration, there is also some question of the future of the Kimberley Cranbrook combined drug unit. Newel told Council that the drug unit is made up of members from both detachments and has initiated nine drug investigations in the past three months.
“Although only one of these investigations was specific to Kimberley, the subjects arrested in Cranbrook have ties to Kimberley,” he said. “Subjects are generally receiving six to nine months in jail. The judges in Cranbrook have publicly stated they will not tolerate trafficking and are giving out some fairly substantive sentences. It is a combined Cranbrook/Kimberley unit and we don’t know yet how it will be affected with the de-integration. I fully support the unit and it’s made a positive impact on the community and the safety of residents.”
One of the targets during the third quarter was distracted drivers. Newel says that interestingly, more drivers were encountered not wearing seatbelts than using cell phones while driving.
Police continue to keep an eye on raves. There were only two in the last quarter that police were aware of, though Newel says there were likely more. Police work with the Ministry of Forests on these events as they are a land use issue. While rave sites are generally cleaned up, garbage is often left in a big pile. A recent rave in the St. Mary’s area left a stage made out of pallets which Forestry dismantled.
Calls for service were up considerably in the third quarter to 637, which is 35 per cent higher than the second quarter and nine per cent higher than the same quarter in 2012. Newel says that while the summer is often the time of a higher call volume, it is up from the previous year as well. Abandoned 911 calls continue to be an issue, as police have to follow up on them to ascertain that no one is in trouble.
Thefts also rose in the third quarter, jumping from 33 in the last quarter and 30 in the same time last year, to 53.
“This caused us concern and we increased our patrols in the problem areas and made people more aware of the issue through the media,” Newel said.