Sgt. Laurie Jalbert delivered the third and fourth quarter policing report to Kimberley City Council on Monday evening.
She recounted a number of successes for the Kimberley/Cranbrook Detachment, especially in the area of drug enforcement. In the past year, the Drug Initiative Team has conducted 67 investigations and most resulted in charges and drug seizures. In the fourth quarter alone there were 20 investigations resulting in 18 recommended charges. Four of those investigations were specific to Kimberley, however, Kimberley members often help out in drug investigations throughout the East Kootenay and beyond.
“Drug offenders tend to operate throughout the entire valley, even across Canada when you get to the higher levels,” Jalbert said.
“The Drug Team is currently working with a new Federal Crown Prosecutor for the area, who has stated that our team has generated in excess of 30 per cent of her prosecution files and given that she covers both the East and West Kootenays that is significant.”
Jalbert says the most prominent drug remains cocaine, but police have also seized marijuana, meth, heroin, ecstasy and mushrooms.
Police also continue with bar checks, Jalbert reported.
The number being conducted has been stepped up in the hopes that a higher police visibility around the bars will deter impaired driving.
“Impaired driving numbers are not going down among young people,” she said. “That’s why we’ve stepped up the bar checks.
Police also continue to keep an eye on prolific offenders within the community.”
“With Kimberley being a small community, we see a lot of prolific offenders come and go,” Jalbert said.
“For instance right now we have someone in hospital in Calgary. If he comes back here, he has to check in. We have another person identified that we are trying to track down. He has moved to the area but we haven’t pinned him down yet. You will see a difference in the prolific offender stats reflected in who is coming and going in the community.”
As for staffing, both Kimberley and Cranbrook detachments continue to be short-handed, but Jalbert expects the situation to improve with Staff Sgt. Craig coming over from the Elk Valley (see story front page) allowing her to resume duties in Kimberley.
Altogether, the Kimberley Detachment responded to 1884 calls for service in 2012, 41 more than last year. There was a significant drop in Break and Enters, from 189 in 2011 to 95 this past year.
“It’s difficult to ascertain the cause of the drop, but it often relates to who is residing in the community,” Jalbert said. “This can be cyclical. Offenders move in to the area, commit a number of offences, then are either caught or move on.”
Jalbert says that three people were arrested this year who were responsible for a number of vehicle break and enters.
However, increases were noted in a number of areas including domestic disputes, mental health issues and harassment, along with abandoned 911 calls.
The harassment calls are often born on social media and text messages, she says.
“We have seen a big increase in harassment because of Facebook and texts,” she said. “People will often say things on social media they wouldn’t say in person. Usually dealing with them doesn’t result in charges but they are time consuming.”
The other time consuming task RCMP officers deal with is tracking 911 calls.
Jalbert says abandoned 911 calls have to be traced to make sure they were done in error. That is easy enough of they are from a land line, but a little trickier with cell phones.
“Often the abandoned 911 calls from a cell phone are pocket dials. You can track a 911 call from a residence but it’s harder with a mobile. It takes a fair bit of time. But in areas like ours, where we get harsh winters and people can get into trouble, we have to track them down to make sure.”
In addition to regular police work, members were also active in Kimberley’s community with the RCMP Speedwatch Charity Golf Tournament, Remembrance Day, DARE program, school visits, Dynamiters hockey games, Cops for Kids and Movember.
Kimberley RCMP will meet with Kimberley City Council in the coming weeks to set policing priorities for 2013.