This week Staff Sergeant Lorne Wood presented the first quarter numbers for the Merritt RCMP Detachment.
“For the first quarter of 2019, general duty members responded to 1304 calls for service, compared to 1282 calls for the same period a year before. So, just a slight increase,” said Staff Sergeant Wood. “There were 89 prisoners, 58 of those prisoners were for alcohol related issues, so that does continue to be an issue in the community.”
False or hang-up 911 calls once again were prevalent in town.
“Sixty-nine calls for 911, again is another drain on resources. Nearly all those calls were hang-up 911’s or someone dials it and panics and hangs up, so members have to go track them down,” said S.Sgt Wood.
He also mentioned the current drug trends seen here in Merritt.
“Crack cocaine, cocaine is still very prevalent. Heroin and fentanyl has been seized, not in great quantities but it’s definitely there, and methamphetamine is also readily available,” said S.Sgt Wood.
Wood also spoke to the Department and Central Interior Traffic Officers responding to 19 drug and alcohol related driving offences. He also mentioned that the Traffic Officers also assist the detachments general duty members with back up and assistance for calls in and out of town.
The biggest problem facing the Merritt Detachment undoubtably is a shortage in manpower.
“For a lengthy period of time in this first quarter we had nine members in total doing the work of 15 members that are staffed at the detachment,” said Wood.
“We have managed to send some limited numbers of our members on some training for standard field sobriety and impaired driver training, search warrants and carbine operation,” said Staff Sergeant Wood. “Much of the other training previously scheduled has been cancelled due to manpower shortages at the detachment.”
“It’s concern, it’s not pointing fingers at anybody, but you need help,” said Councillor Kurt Christopherson. “I think it’s very evident from what you’ve said that we need more manpower on all fronts if we’re going to adequately deal with the situations and people that need help in our town. I’d like to commend you and the force for the tremendous job you do when you’re often so shorthanded.”
For the full report head to – https://www.merritt.ca/city-council/agendas-and-minutes
The report is on pages 27-31 of the May 14th Regular Council Meeting Agenda.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt