On Monday, the City of Merritt declared a state of local emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the release from City Hall, CAO Scott Hildebrand referenced the City moving to only essential services, including “new 24-hour policing service”.
Many Merrittonians have long spoken to their belief the City needs to have 24-hour police coverage. Until now, the message from City Hall and the Merritt RCMP was simple; we agree, but we don’t have the ability to institute it due to current staffing levels.
Merritt RCMP Cpl. Brock Hedrick joined Q101 to discuss the operational changes at the detachment that allows for the new coverage.
“Unfortunately, with everything going on right now, we’ve had to collapse our general investigation section, or plain-clothed section back into the uniform section, back into general duty. Also, our first nations policing section has been re-deployed, or the majority of it, to general duty,” said Hedrick.
“That’s something we can do short-term, not sure how long we can maintain that for. We don’t have any on-call period, there are always members on,” added Hedrick.
The new coverage is currently set to last for the duration of the state of emergency.
“We would love to have 24-hour policing in Merritt at all times, unfortunately, it also starts to affect coverage and member wellness,” said Hedrick.
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