Submitted by Sgt. Darren Kakuno
Columbia Valley RCMP
COVID-19 RCMP update
The RCMP continues to work closely with the local, provincial and national health agencies to monitor and respond to the situation. We are aware of the pandemic and our efforts will continue to be flexible and fluid based on the recommendations made by these agencies, while ensuring our commitment to core policing duties and the safety of our communities.
At this point we are focussing on public education and voluntary compliance with the public health orders. Police officers are not empowered to enforce (i.e. ticket or detain) with respect to the public health orders. Our role is to provide assistance only when called upon by a health officer pursuant to section 90 of the Public Health Act.
As an emergency response agency, we do have existing protocols and procedures that deal with these types of health situations. As police officers we routinely have to take precautions due to contacts with individuals and communicable diseases. Our members deal with exposure to bodily fluids and other hazards regularly, so our training and procedures have always focussed on reducing those risks (ie. we plan, prepare, prevent and protect).
Overall, compliance with the public health order in our valley seems to be good. We are still receiving occasional non-compliance complaints, however, many of the complaints are as a result of confusion between what is ordered in the Public Health Order versus recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer. We continue to encourage our residents to follow the Provincial Health Officer’s recommendations.
RCMP weekly report
This past week, March 30th through April 5th the Columbia Valley RCMP responded to 47 calls for service. The following is a summary of some of the files our officers responded to.
On Wednesday, April 1st at 5:15 pm police responded to a report a single vehicle motor vehicle incident on Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park. Police spoke to the driver of a Hyundai Sonata who reported losing control of his vehicle after his front tire went flat causing him to drive off the road. There was no major damage to the vehicle and the driver was uninjured.
On Friday, April 3rd a resident on Fairmont Street in Windermere reported a theft from his vehicle. The owner discovered his stereo had been stolen from his unlocked Subaru Outback sometime overnight.
On Saturday, April 4th a theft was reported at the Mountain Shadows RV park in Radium Hot Springs. A small children’s wagon had been stolen and an outdoor shed door damaged. An officer recovered the wagon on Highway 93/95 near Juniper Heights.
On Saturday, April 4th a break and enter was reported by a business in the 9100 block of Highway 93/95 near Invermere. The front door of the business had been kicked in and the office and vehicles were rummaged through. It appeared that only a propane tank and lighter had been stolen. Investigators will be reviewing the video surveillance footage once obtained.
On Saturday, April 4th at 6:40 pm an officer conducted a traffic stop with the driver of a Ford Windstar in Canal Flats. The officer noted several empty beer cans in the vehicle and noted signs of impairment. Following an impaired driving investigation, the driver was issued a 24-hour driving prohibition and his vehicle was impounded for 24 hours.
On Sunday, April 5th at about 8:00 pm Columbia Valley RCMP was advised that a vehicle had driven into the side of the Radium Mountain Market causing minor damage to the store. Police attended and spoke to the driver who explained she had stepped on the wrong peddle. The driver was also discovered to be suspended from driving in BC and was issued a violation ticket for driving while prohibited.
Also on Sunday, April 5th, RCMP and local fire services held a parade of lights and sirens to honour healthcare professionals for their efforts around COVID-19.