Sgt. Chris Newel delivered the quarterly RCMP report to City Council on Tuesday.

Sgt. Newel delivers his last quarterly report to Council before retirement

Sgt. Chris Newel delivered the Kimberley RCMP Detachment’s quarterly report to City Council on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Newel touched on some of the highlights from the quarterly report.

There was a total of 622 calls for service over the past three months, a number consistent with the norm over the years; 138 more than the previous quarter and 12 more than the same quarter in 2019. This is attributed to summer months being the busiest, which then puts more pressure on the detachment’s resources as members are often taking holidays at this time.

While there was a drop in calls for service for traffic reasons, largely due to COVID, traffic stats for the last quarter have climbed back up to normal levels.

A total of 20 impaired drivers were removed from the road over the past quarter and there was 116 traffic contacts.

The RCMP’s Speed Watch group has done 16 deployments to date with almost 3200 vehicles recorded, and they expect to do another four before ending their season for a grand total of 20 deployments and around 4000 vehicles. Deployments were down from the normal amount due to COVID restrictions and uncertainty.

The Crime Prevention Unit, Newel said, is one of the detachment’s busiest. The Unit has one member in Kimberley and one from Cranbrook, and they spend a large portion of their time working there.

One of the highlights Newel brought up was the armed robbery which happened at the Esso back in July.

“We handled that initially and we got information fairly quickly that the suspect was residing in Radium,” Newel said. He explained that, alongside Columbia Valley RCMP, the Crime Reduction Unit carried out a search warrant at a residence in Radium and were able to seize the shotgun as well as a great deal of other evidence that tied two individuals to the Esso robbery.

“That’s the type of thing that the Crime Reduction Unit is able to do, they’re able to do that quickly, they can go, they can move, they can act quickly based on information.”

He also recalled a substantial seizure the unit made back in July. Four subjects were arrested in Cranbrook which all had connections to Kimberley. At the time coke, methamphetamine, fentanyl, heroin and bear spray was all seized after a search warrant was executed on a residence in Cranbrook. They seized almost 50 ounces of cocaine.

“For those of you who don’t know, cocaine is sold in half and one gram quantities typically and there’s 28 grams to the ounce, I’ll let you do the math on that.

“They’ve got a lot of files on the go, I can’t actually go into the investigations for security reasons, but I do want to let you know that that’s time well spent on that position there.”

On the issue of resources, Newel said that the detachment is currently fully staffed.

This quarterly report, which Newel has been delivering to Council for the last eight or nine years, was his last.

Newel’s last day as Kimberley RCMP Detachment Commander will be Nov. 4 after being with the Detachment since November 2011, transferring in originally as Corporal.

With his departure there will be a vacancy, but Newel said that he talked to the incoming sergeant and he said that he could tentatively be in Kimberley by the end of November.

Newel suspects he will at least be in the position by December, and Cpl. Bamber will be in the acting position for that period.

“I have enjoyed my tenure here and will remain in Kimberley for many years to come,” he said.

After delivering the report, Newel asked Council to tell the story of his time in Kimberley.

The first time he came through Kimberley was in 1989, not as a police officer or a member of the RCMP at that point, he just came to visit. He stayed at the Kimberley Hotel and skied the Nordic track.

“Little did I know how this would evolve over the next 30 plus years.” His first post was in Cranbrook and he spent a lot of time in Kimberley, particularly in the Platzl, the Nordic ski trails and the Snowdrift Cafe.

He said Kimberley the first and only choice for a place to be in the Kootenays for he and his wife, who grew up in Cranbrook.

“Everybody talks about my retirement,” Newel said. “I just want to let you know that in essence, my wife and I like to refer to it as our retirement. I’ve worked hard over 30 years, we’ve been together over 23 years and look forward to spending more quality time in Kimberley.”

Council expressed how glad they were to get to know Newel and thanked him for his many years of service.


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