REPORTING · 22nd October 2015
Staff Sargent James McLaren got up to address Council on Monday, October 19th, presenting the RCMP Report for September. He had stopped by Council in late September for a police report as well, but due to a Whirlwind Transfer, he did not deliver a background.
“I have 22 year’s service in the RCMP, 7 years in the military prior to that. I’ve worked, this will be my ninth detachment, I’ve worked in three different provinces and one territory. This will be my second command as a staff sergeant rank,” said McLaren.
He has worked with the United Nations in Yugoslavia and Kosovo at the end of the war setting up their police force. He also has dealt with severe flooding in a previous community Alberta. There were 1000 people homeless and he was able to work as a team with local authorities to get through it with minimal loss of life. He also worked logistics during the Slave Lake Wildfires in Alberta. He’s also worked several snow events, helping people trapped on the road.
“Kitimat’s been good to me so far,” said McLaren.
McLaren told Council he has two RCMP Officers who are sick at the moment and two vacancies. However, they are in transition with people coming and going. He expressed things were good at the moment.
He said there is a downward trend in crime at the moment. There were 296 complaints in September this year, which is around 100 less than the month before.
“With the Modernization Project wrapping up, it probably has a huge effect on the crime stats. I like to say we’re doing a good job or the guys are doing a good job,” said McLaren.
Councillor Rob Goffinet asked about the possession of Cocaine. However, there was a recent media report about drug related people coming into town to exercise turf and wanted to know more. McLaren told Goffinet that report will be captured in the October stats which will be released next month.
“Drugs are all about the money. Where the dealers go is where they’re trying to make money. Kitimat is not in a bubble away from that, we’re a part of Canadian Society,” said McLaren. “Bad guys go where they could make money, whether it’s $100 or $1,000,000. They are always going out into the communities. What our challenge is do as much prevention work as we can to minimize the impact. It will always be there, we can’t get it down to zero.”
He told Council they are laying the ground work is through strong community relations and communicating with their business partners within the community. This way, they can combine their efforts when people do come to town to cause problems.
McLaren expressed they responded, dealt with them all weekend, charges were laid and this incident sorted out for the interim.
Councillor Claire Rattee asked what can be done about the Mental Health related complaints, which were included in the report. McLaren explained a lot of these are addiction dependant, while others are related to Social Media complaints. The Social Media Complaints come from bad spots in a relationship where people threaten their own well-being over Social Media, to get the attention of someone else.
“We respond to that, every one of those, extremely serious. We respond, we generate a file, we do our investigation, we get help for the person. We will assess and take to the hospital,” said McLaren. “It’s an extremely serious response for us. I would like to say that none of the ones in the past month were any attempts to the point that we were kicking doors down or anything like that. People were very cooperative with us on this and so was the hospital.”
Mayor Phil Germuth asked about an event on the Bridge which may have taken place this past weekend. McLaren said they called out search and rescue and had them look around. At the time, they had no report of missing people or mental health incidents. Following the search, they were not concerned and neither was search and rescue.
There was nothing further to report so the RCMP left the meeting.