REPORTING · 19th December 2014
Kitimat City Council kicked off with a presentation from the Kitimat RCMP, Staff Sergeant Phil Harrison and Sergeant Graham Morgan presented the Monthly Policing Report for November.
“There has been some talk on Facebook and what not in regards to how many members we have and what’s happening with recruiting. I just want to mention that on paper right now we are full up, if you count the one member we have in Ottawa at the moment, and once that member gets here, we’ll be at full strength,” said Harrison.
He explained there are shortages. One member is on maternity leave, one member is on Medical leave and there are two members who have to be with their trainers so they are unable to cover those shifts.
Harrison expressed they are trying to get more members. However, they are finding it is hard to bring RCMP Officers to the North.
Morgan went into the crime statistics. There were 344 calls for service in November. There were 4 sexual assaults reported. Two were historic. Violent crimes are down for their year to dates. There were two break and enters. Both of those were unlocked. There was a case of shoplifting, there was an arrest and charges were placed. There were two vehicles stolen on November 1st and both were recovered. Charges are pending.
“I just wanted to add this past weekend, we had a number of Christmas Parties going on. We had a number of roadside checks up and I am quite pleased with the number of designated drivers that I saw on the road. It is absolutely fantastic as far as the numbers that we saw. The message must be getting out there,” said Harrison.
Councillor Mary Murphy thanked Harrison for addressing the issues on social media, as she did not have to ask about them. She asked about how recruitment worked.
Murphy also asked what they do about homeless people in Kitimat. Harrison replied they do not run into homeless people, although they know they are out there. There was one person who was not aware of the shelter so the RCMP advised him of the shelter and the person now uses it.
He explained it is the decision of the homeless person what they are going to do, unless the person’s health is imperilled or they are committing an offense.
Councillor Edwin Empinado expressed there is a police presence on the roads, but he is told they need to improve on spot checks, people traveling over the speed limit or passing on solid lines.
He also asked about the plans for recruiting officers. Harrison told him there is a plan which was presented to Council. However, LNG Canada is predicting they would need four more RCMP members for their project.