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THE NEW RURAL PROPERTY TAX

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Community Comments

LAST UPDATE December 22, 2017

Click on your refresh button in the top menu, to be sure you see any updates.

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MAJOR COSTS OF ADDRESSING RCMP FAILURES

2001
$10 MILLION
APEC inquiry (Federal)

2006
$258,000
Auditor General probe into pension-fund scandal (Federal)

2006
$15.2 MILLION
O'Connor Commission (Maher Arar) (Federal)

2006
$10.5 MILLION
Payout to Maher Arar (Federal)

2006
$2.2 MILLION
Settlement for malicious prosecution (Federal)

2007
$1 MILLION
One harassment settlement (Federal)

2010
$5.3 MILLION
Braidwood inquiry (B.C.)

2010
$31.95 MILLION
Air India inquiry (RCMP & CSIS) (Federal)

2012
$9.8 MILLION
The Missing Women inquiry (RCMP & Vancouver Police) (B.C.)

2012
$1.7 MILLION
Employee claims against the RCMP

==========================

CASES BEFORE THE COURTS

2018
NO COSTS YET
Workplace harassment class action in Quebec

2018
SEEKING $1.1 BILLION
Proposed workplace harassment class action

2018
SEEKING $600 MILLION
Proposed class action over RCMP’s handling of MMIW investigations

2018
SEEKING $600 MILLION
Proposed class action over RCMP’s treatment of Indigenous people in the north

2019
SEEKING $135 MILLION
Proposed class action over members harassed and assaulted by RCMP doctors

Source: https://globalnews.ca/news/4864037/rcmp-culture-of-dysfunction/?utm_source=Article&utm_medium=MostPopular&utm_campaign=2014&fbclid=IwAR2Lh8TktE8oFX1o9Uv9Psb94cjgL9XSlMMgpgKeuxGI3dVZdHSIrQNXLAA

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Police Resources

As of May, 2015 there were 8,678 police officers in the province, an addition of six officers since 2014. The rate of police strength (the number of police per 100,000 population) in B.C. was 185 in 2015, 0.9% lower than in the previous year and marking the fourth consecutive annual decline.

Among some of the province’s larger municipalities, there were 1,280 police officers in Vancouver, just over 640 in Surrey, 243 in Victoria and 156 in Saanich, which adds up to 197, 129, 240 and 137 police officers per 100,000 population, respectively.

The province remains well below the national per capita rate of 192 officers per 100,000 Canadians. With a rate of 202, Saskatchewan had the highest rate for police strength among the provinces, while P.E.I. (154) had the lowest.

In 2015, over a fifth (22%) of police officers in British Columbia were female, the second highest proportion of any province or territory (Quebec recorded 25%). The percentage of female police officers in Canada has been increasing steadily over the past couple of decades. While females represented just 10% of all police officers in the country in 1995, by 2015, their proportion had grown to 21%.

Data Source: Statistics Canada

Source: http://www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca/publications/infoline/16-03-31/Issue_16-66.aspx

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Volunteers are doing what the city should be doing.

North Okanagan community rallies to keep good Samaritans behind the wheels of their snowplows
Dec 22, 2017 - By Charlotte Helston - iNFOnews.ca

When it snows, David Almaas spends three-to-four hours clearing sidewalks and walking trails around Enderby, along with a group of roughly four other like-minded locals.

ENDERBY - After news that a group of volunteer snow plowers might have to cease their efforts due to legal issues, the community has come together to find a solution that lets the good Samaritans keep up their work.

David Almaas is one of about five people in Enderby who clear sidewalks and walking trails using off-road vehicles equipped with snowplows. They’ve been doing it for years, but recently, one of them was stopped on the road by a police officer, which drew the whole operation into question.

“(The cop) told him it’s a big fine and they’d tow the vehicle next time,” Almaas says, noting the fine is around $500.

The problem is off road vehicles aren’t allowed to be on the road, something Almaas admits he knew but never really worried about before. After the warning, some of the plowers took to social media to let people know they’d have to stop doing the work. Many people expressed their disappointment.

“We’re just trying to help people out. It’s the right thing to do, right?” Almaas says.

He says he bought the equipment a few years ago to do his own driveway, which quickly grew to him doing the neighbour’s driveway, and eventually snow balled into a route that includes the River Walk trail and numerous sidewalks. He starts around 7 a.m. and it takes him three-to-four hours to complete.

Thanks to a new pilot program, people like David Almaas will be able to keep lending a hand when the snow flies.

“More scooters are going around downtown, more elderly people have a hard time shovelling. It’s just easier to whip through and clear ‘em out,” Almaas says.

When contacted Friday morning, Enderby Mayor Greg McCune said he welcomes the volunteer work — as long as it’s done safely and legally.

“You’re always trying to help out your neighbour. If we can figure out a way to do it legally, I’ll be in favour of it,” McCune said.

By the end of the day on Friday, the City of Enderby had done just that. Chief administrative officer Tate Bengston says he’s spoken with the RCMP and reviewed ICBC regulations, and come up with an idea that should satisfy everyone.

“Obviously, we have to balance interests and make sure everything is safe and legal, but what we’re doing is we’re going to start a pilot program here to work with good Samaritans to issue them a permit to operate on untravelled portions of the roadway,” Bengston says. “The critical thing is we want to make sure the work is done in a way that’s safe for them, and others.”

Plowers would get a restricted plate from ICBC to operate on sidewalks and boulevards for the strict purposes of snow clearing. The permit would be free of charge and operators would have to follow a set of specific requirements — but they’ll be able to keep doing their work.

“We’re optimistic we’ve found a way that it can be done,” Bengston says. “Based on everything so far, it looks very viable.”

Bengston says the extra help provided by the volunteer plowers is what community is all about, and he’s glad they were able to find a workable solution.

“Our community is built and powered by good community volunteers working in conjunction with the city and everybody else,” Bengston says.

Source: https://infotel.ca/newsitem/north-okanagan-community-rallies-to-keep-good-samaritans-behind-the-wheels-of-their-snowplows/it48847

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Former member protests RCMP brass
BCLocalNews.com - Roger Knox - Nov. 16, 2017

Don Mathison
Retired RCMP member Don Mathison protests the RCMP’s treatment of their officers outside the Vernon detachment Thursday. (Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star)

Enderby's Don Mathison believes internal problems are leading to low morale...and worse

Lack of leadership. Intimidation. Cover-ups. Uniform members as scapegoats. A toxic, systemic culture. Sexual harassment. Lack of discipline and bullying.

Those are some of the major problems that former officer Don Mathison of Enderby believes exist at the top levels of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. And those problems adorn the A-side of his one-man protest sign, which Mathison carried for nearly four hours outside the Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP detachment Thursday.

“The protest is about what’s going on inside the RCMP, said Mathison, 75, who served his entire 12-year RCMP career in Alberta. “It’s not what the public’s creating against the members. It’s what the higher ranks and federal government are doing to the members inside the force. It’s all internal.”

Mathison has walked with his sign in Armstrong, Kamloops, at B.C. Division headquarters in Surrey and on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

Vernon was the fifth stop of his one-man protest, coming two days after the Vernon-North Okanagan detachment requested six new officers – at a cost of $1.05 million – from the city, which heard that morale at the local detachment was low due to heavy caseloads.

“Council may say we can’t afford them (new officers), but when you realize what’s happening inside the force, you better afford them,” he said. “You need them, the public needs them.”

The other side of his sign lists four derogatory words which spell RCMP– and best describes the national force, said Mathison – Reprehensive (SIC – should be Reprehensible). Complacent. Manipulative. Pervasive.

On Mathison’s jacket are five commemorative buttons: a Canadian flag, the 125th anniversary of the RCMP in Canada, the Canadian Army button, and buttons that remember four officers killed on duty in Mayerthorpe, Alta, and the ribbon button that commemorates fallen officers or who died in the line of duty. He starts to break down, his voice cracking and tears welling up, as he mentions that 36 former or current RCMP members have committed suicide over the past several years.

“The silence is this country is deafening. Nobody is standing up (for the officers),” he said.

Mathison graduated from depot in Regina in 1963. It was in 1974, when he was stationed near Grande Prairie, that Mathison left the force after losing faith in the judicial system.

“We had 103 impaired drivers in the Peace River subdivision out of Grande Prairie, and 97 got tossed out because of an alcoholic judge,” said Mathison. “He got transferred to Edmonton, sobered up and became one of the best judges Alberta ever had. On appeal, we won 97 of those impaired driving charges.”

He worked in the oil industry and has kept in touch with colleagues throughout the years. During his protests, he’s also heard from officers and the public at large.

“The public reaction, I would say, has been outpouring,” said Mathison. “People really care. But we get too far into a discussion on the sign I’m carrying, and they can’t handle what I’m telling them.

“People say ‘we trust Don, he’ll talk about what we tell him without saying who we are or what we tell him.’ Having served, it’s part of me.”

Asked if he feared repercussions, or being taken as a “crazy old man,” Mathison shook his head.

“You can’t stop an individual from doing what he thinks should be done,” he said.

Mathison is hoping to meet with the top brass of the Vernon-North Okanagan detachment to discuss his concerns.

Source: http://www.bclocalnews.com/news/former-member-protests-rcmp-brass/

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Vernon faces 'risks' without more police officers, top cop says
by Charlotte Helston / iNFOnews.ca) November 14, 2017


Supt. Jim McNamara
(CHARLOTTE HELSTON / iNFOnews.ca)

VERNON - Without an increase of general duty officers, there will be risks to the citizens of Vernon and its police officers, the city’s top cop said today.

The revelation comes a year after iNFOnews.ca's November 2016 series "Risk it Out" which identified chronic understaffing issues within the Vernon detachment was creating unacceptable risks for officers.

Supt. Jim McNamara is now asking council for a boost of six more police officers, including four general duty constables, and one officer each for the Prolific Offender Unit and Sex Crimes unit. The price tag is roughly $1 million, which includes salaries, equipment, administration and maintenance costs.

In “Risk it Out,” iNFOnews.ca reported that Vernon’s general duty watches — which are made up of seven constables, one corporal and a sergeant — had at times fallen as low as just three officers due to understaffing. Our story revealed that when officers are away on parental leave and sick leave, or due to injuries or for training, the watches are forced to “risk it out” with remaining members because no one else was backfilling the shifts. Watch commanders can call in overtime, but that often leads to stress and burnout. Sources in positions of knowledge said the shortage was putting officers at risk.

Today, Nov. 14, Supt. McNamara reiterated many of those issues when he presented Vernon city council with a 17-page business case for more manpower. In that report, he says a reduction in funded officer positions since 2010 combined with increasing workloads has affected levels of service, and had “a detrimental impact on officer well-being and fatigue of personnel.”

'IMPACT ON LOCAL MORALE'

“This demand on available resources contributes to a further decrease in operational capacity during periods of medical and administrative absences. The current limitations on staffing also have an impact on local morale and job satisfaction and may lead to challenges in attracting experienced police officers from other detachments to Vernon due to concerns about workloads and the inability to maintain a healthy work/life balance,” McNamara said.

In a comparison with nine other RCMP detachments, McNamara said Vernon consistently ranked the highest for calls for service per officer from 2010 to 2016, and the highest criminal code offences per officer for the last four years. The average criminal code files per officer for those nine communities was 74, while a Vernon officer has 98, McNamara said.

Vernon’s four general duty watches — responsible for responding to calls for service and carrying out proactive policing, targeted patrols, street checks and traffic enforcement — are comprised of one sergeant, one corporal and seven constable positions, McNamara said. In an interview following his presentation to council, McNamara told iNFOnews.ca the nine-officer complement is a targeted level and not consistently met due to annual leaves, members being away for training, or officers calling in sick. He said the detachment has a minimum staffing level for the watches but would not divulge what that number is. He said watch commanders have the ability to call officers in on overtime if the watches are below minimum levels.
 


Vernon RCMP Insp. Gord Stewart pictured at a Nov. 14, 2017 meeting before Vernon City Council.
(CHARLOTTE HELSTON / iNFOnews.ca)

Under the heading “Risks associated to status quo” McNamara’s report states that no increase in officers would result in risks to citizens and police officers, including lowered conviction rates.

McNamara appears to have done a complete turnaround on the issue. In a letter to the editor published a few days after “Risk it Out” Supt. McNamara initially disputed the findings: “To set the record straight, I do not believe chronic under staffing is leaving our police officers or the public in danger,” he said. Asked today about those comments, McNamara said: “What I was very clear on is I don’t believe our officers were at risk as a result of understaffing… in danger as a result of officer staffing,” McNamara said.

Does he still believe they are not at risk?

“Well, are officers at risk every day when they go out? I mean, they put their lives on the line every day they go out to work, so they’re always at risk, but it was very specific that the suggestion was our officers were in danger as a result of understaffing and I don’t believe they were and I don’t believe they are today."

Risks associated to status quo (on general duty watches):

Greater risk to police and public safety through limited resource availability and the capacity to respond to calls for service in a timely manner.
Inability to maintain police visibility through pro-active patrolling to deter crime.
Reduced public confidence due to a diminished ability to maintain current service delivery levels.
Decreased flexibility to manage vacancies due to mandatory training, vacation, parental leave, injury illness and other unplanned and unanticipated absences.
Weaker court cases and reduced conviction rates due to police officers having inadequate time to dedicate to thorough and complete investigations.
The need to collapse current enhanced units, such as Downtown Enforcement Unit (DEU), the Prolific Offender Unit (POU) and our School Resource Officer (SRO) position in order to redeploy those resources to general duty to deal with growing demands for service.
Negative impact on officer morale and well-being as a result of excessive call volumes and workload and inability to maintain a healthy work/ life balance.
Lack of opportunity for officers to participate in developmental opportunities to enhance skills and personal development which would lead to higher quality service delivery.
Inability to attract experienced police officers from other detachments to Vernon due to concerns about excessive workloads and the inability to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

The full report can be read here.

Source: https://infotel.ca/newsitem/vernon-faces-risks-without-more-police-officers-top-cop-says/it47640

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Police seize child from Alberta mother; B.C. judge questioned
by Fletcher Kent - Global News BC - September 29, 2017

It's a case experts and lawyers call "scary" and "unbelievable." The RCMP took a young Edmonton-area-boy from his mother and gave him to his father in B.C. that he didn't know. Fletcher Kent reports.

Saturday, Sept. 23 was supposed to be the day Daylan Postkin celebrated his second birthday at Chucky Cheese.

Instead, an RCMP officer met his mother Kandis Potskin at the front door of their Spruce Grove apartment. He had a B.C. court order that allowed him to take Daylan and give him to his father, who he’d last seen as a newborn.


Four minutes later, Potskin left the building with Daylan in her arms. The Mountie carried the boy’s small, hastily packed suitcase. Potskin placed Daylan in the back seat of the cruiser and watched as it drove away. The officer wouldn’t tell her where he was taking her son.

With birthday presents still in the trunk of her car, she struggled to make sense of what had just happened.

“I was in shock. I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to do,” said Potskin, who wasn’t part of any custody hearing in any province and who friends describe as a wonderful, loving parent.

“How can they grant full custody to someone who is a total stranger to my kid? He has no ties to him at all.”

Saturday was the first of six days that Daylan was separated from the only parent he’s ever known; the first of six days of fighting by Kandis Potskin.

She hired a lawyer and on Monday, arrived at the Edmonton Law Courts with friends. By then, she knew her ex, Kelly Swartz, had Daylan, but not where they were.

“I cry myself to sleep every night wanting my son,” she said at the time. “If I open my eyes, his crib is there but he’s not in it. I can’t sleep.

“I’m frustrated. I want my child back now.”

Potskin’s lawyer, an expert in family law and veteran of many custody battles, was as baffled by the B.C. court order as Potskin.

“I can’t tell from the face of this order on what grounds this child was snatched by surprise from mom,” said Kim Doniger.

The order, dated Aug. 25 and signed by B.C. Provincial Court Judge Ellen Gordon, indicates there was a custody hearing in Surrey, B.C. The transcript shows that hearing was brief. Kelly Swartz appeared without a lawyer. He said Potskin and Daylan lived with him in Vancouver but “she took off, and I started the court thing right after that.”

Potskin disputes Swartz’s account. She says she lived briefly in B.C. after Daylan was born but had her own place.

Doniger argued Swartz is not just a stranger to his son; he’s a stranger in the eyes of the law. Though Potskin acknowledges Swartz is Daylan’s biological father, he’s not listed on the birth certificate. He had no contact with either Potskin or Daylan for 22 months. There was no paternity test. How did he even prove his connection to the child?

“It’s very scary; the fact a complete legal stranger, that Ms. Potskin hasn’t seen in almost two years, can just walk into a court and take her child from her,” Doniger said.

“He doesn’t even have any proof that he’s father of the child. So that’s pretty scary that you can just go to a court and get an order snatching someone else’s child. I think that’s very scary.


Doniger argued the B.C. court had no authority to decide the fate of a child born, raised and residing in Alberta.

The judge agreed. Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Avril Inglis asserted jurisdiction over Daylan’s case. She stayed the B.C. order and instructed Daylan be returned to his mother pending a full hearing.

But one overwhelming problem remained.

“We still don’t know where he is,” Potskin said.

“What he must be feeling, wondering where I am, why he’s over there. He doesn’t know anything. He’s just lost, confused, scared.”

On Thursday, after three days of wrangling with courts, Potskin was told she could go fetch her son. She caught a plane to Vancouver and, shortly before midnight Alberta time, finally got Daylan back. They returned to Edmonton the next day. At the airport, Daylan greeted other family members with a big smile and hugged his five-year-old sister.

Potskin is relieved but also angry. She blames the B.C. court for “snatching” her son with no good reason.

Neither the B.C. government nor the B.C. provincial court has provided a response to her concerns.

Swartz did not respond to a request for an interview.

As she stood in the arrivals area of the airport, watching her son run around and play with his sister and grandmother, she vowed to keep fighting.

“It was so easy for him to come here and grab the baby. But to get him back, is like I’m jumping through hoops.

“This can’t happen. If this can happen to me, if it can happen to one mother, it’s going to happen to another — or it could. And we don’t want that. I don’t want it.”

Source: https://globalnews.ca/news/3777441/police-seize-child-from-alberta-mother-b-c-judge-questioned/

Blue Divider Line

Policing concerns
Vernon Morning Star - Sep 3rd, 2017 - Letters

Why are Canadian’s so passive that we will accept defeat, rather than fight for our rights and what is fair? That’s right, we always say sorry even if we didn’t do anything, everyone knows that.

Government corporations such as ICBC can raise rates many times more than anyone else. When did you ever get a 30 per cent pay raise? But we accept it as their right. Some complain, but the norm is, “Oh well that’s ICBC.”

The list of others is endless. Just like negative polling to pass dubious bills to borrow money for someone’s pet project that couldn’t get funded otherwise.

Ever notice the only way people get fair treatment today is to involve the media? The criminals today seem to demand their Charter rights in order to find loopholes to get off a crime they and everyone else knows they committed, but we let it happen anyway.

I firmly believe, and so do many other people I have spoken to, that the RCMP have outlived their mandate of a policing service. Many of the services they used to provide are gone.

The most visual presence is when they are travelling down 27th Street at very high speeds with lights and sirens blaring.

Maybe the police should address simple traffic violations. It might curb road rage issues when people run red lights or stop signs, make improper turns and cut people off. The list of simple infractions is endless that would stop a lot of bad habits from escalating.

I see lots of upset drivers taking the law into their own hands because there is no police presence.

Ask any motorcyclist about lack of law enforcement against car/pickup drivers in Vernon.

I’m not saying that none of them are doing their job.

We do have some excellent police officers in this city. I am saying that the job has changed and I don’t think they have. This city still has around 40,000 people and we have 50 or more police officers on staff with no more than half-a-dozen at work at any given time.

Vernon is not a high crime city. Transients and drug issues, for sure, but still small town feel. We don’t need more police. We need them to be more efficient, to be proactive instead of reactive.

When Ottawa told Christy Clark to sign a 20-year contract or they were pulling RCMP services, she should have taken the initiative and said, “OK, leave and we will do as many other B.C. communities have and hire our own police force (Surrey, Delta, Vancouver, Vancouver Island has several).”

We pay what the federal government says. The RCMP are federal employees. We have no say in anything they do, where they are stationed and for how long. We all know this is the prime area for RCMP to finish their service and retire here. Guess who covers the cost of their relocation and any losses they incur on their homes if they move?

Maybe it’s time for the Okanagan Valley to employ its own police force. It might take a while to implement but I’m sure it would be more efficient and cost-effective in the long-term.

How long will it be before we are told to build Vernon a detachment like Kelowna? Do they really need prime real estate down own? On 25th Avenue, there are several lots for sale that would be much better suited. After all, shouldn’t police be on patrol, not inside a nice building all day?

Paul Elmont
Vernon

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/opinion/policing-concerns/

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In reply to Braden Taylor re: Rural Policing

Braden Taylor thank you for your response to my letter. If rural areas were not meant to be included in the criminal code, the criminal code would say so. I for one, surely don't expect my rural area to be lawless, or the laws enforced any different in my rural area than in the city.

Sharon Schnurr

==========================

In response
Vernon Morning Star - Sep 10th, 2017 - Letters

I recently read Sharon Schnurr’s well articulated letter to the editor in The Morning Star and I felt a need to respond.

I find it unbelievable that you expect the police to quickly respond to your slightest whim.

Police, in my view, are intended to serve and protect citizens in need. They are not designed to respond to quibbles between neighbours such as a dog barking or some music and laughter in the evening.

I find the complaint about laughter at night humorous to be honest.

Imagine if others in our society were pestering local police.

We would either need to hire many more officers or the ones we do have would be busy attending to spilled milk while real crimes slipped by unchecked.

Braden Taylor
Vernon

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/opinion/in-response-10/

=========================

Rural policing
Vernon Morning Star - Aug 25th, 2017 - Letters

RCMP Supt. Jim McNamara, your officers have not been able to attend any complaints I have made in my rural area.

There are dirt bikes leaving for work at 6:15 a.m. and quads constantly on the paved public roads in my subdivision.

There are dogs barking almost every night when the Regional District of Central Okanagan dog control is closed. You haven’t been able to stop a dog from barking in the middle of the night. Like the bylaw states, the RCMP are bylaw officers for RDCO’s dog bylaw.

There is something seriously wrong with the North Okanagan RCMP that I have to live in a lawless subdivision.

Recently, there was a party going on with music and loud laughter, and I didn’t even get a return call.

Do you think maybe it’s time to admit, instead of denying it, that you need more officers? I constantly read comments online about how the RCMP in the North Okanagan are understaffed.

Or is it more likely that your officers just don’t want to attend to a barking dog?

It’s time to admit you need more officers Supt. McNamara so officers can attend to rural areas 45 minutes from town, and not just hang out in town all the time.

Sharon Schnurr
North Westside

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/opinion/rural-policing/

Blue Divider Line

Article talking about how the system is not working

Blue Divider Line

No closer to a resolution
Castanet.net - Contributed - Jul 5, 2017 | Story: 201104

Last month our home was broken into while we were sleeping. My purse was stolen and my car.

The morning it happened, we had given the RCMP addresses and times of the places they had used my credit card, and no video footage had been collected. Within hours they had opened up a credit card in my name and spent almost $1,000 immediately with it as well as getting a new cellphone & contract. I also found out times the of this, contacted where they got the credit card and was informed they would make a copy of the video that showed 3 separate times the people were there. The RCMP have yet to collect this video waiting for them.

Because of social media, we got a tip on where the stolen car was, we drove there and found it. The police came and even though there was stolen property purchased with that fraudulent card, no finger prints or anything were looked for, we were even told that if we had extra keys to just drive it home.

We understand that the police have very important and very busy jobs, but at what point does a crime become serious enough to do something about? They broke into our home, stole our money, stole our car, maxed out all my cards and stole my identity. We have given them everything we could find, we have contacted the companies our credit card was used at or accounts opened, and have given all this information over to them, dates, times, purchases, etc.

It has been over 4 weeks and we still are no closer to a resolution than on day one.

How many people need to be affected by this type of violation, before something is done. These people knew what they were doing, and unless the RCMP follow up, it will keep happening to others.

Source: https://www.castanet.net/news/Letters/201104/No-closer-to-a-resolution

Blue Divider Line

Policing
Vernon Morning Star - Jun 7th, 2017 - Letters / Opinion

Regarding Jerry Reitman’s letter May 14 complaining about the RCMP wages, I will not go into detail listing the myriad of tasks performed by members in their daily/nightly shifts.

However, it’s not an exaggeration to say they have very demanding jobs and they put their lives on the line each time they put on their uniforms. Policing is a thankless career that most people would/should not consider. Mr. Reitman, in a rather critical tone, first condemns RCMP officers their hard earned salary, then he sarcastically asks, “Where do I sign up?”

To answer his question, he could start with the RCMP website at www.rcmp.gc.ca. He could also go to the local detachment or he could just ask a member the next time he sees one. I would encourage Mr. Reitman to keep his job, though. If he has to ask where to sign up, his investigative skills seem to be lacking.

I would not want the job of a police officer, but I am grateful for those that do and I don’t begrudge them the money they make.

Everything in our lives is a reflection of the choices we make. If Mr. Reitman is serious when he asks, “Where do I sign up?” and it isn’t simply resentment that fuels his comments, I wish him all of the best.

Ray Norstrom
Vernon

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/opinion/policing/

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Police wages
Vernon Morning star - May 14th, 2017 - Letters / Opinion

Thank you for alerting readers to the financial injustice being done to the Vernon RCMP members.

A starting salary of $50,674 is obviously inadequate.

Even worse, after three years of work experience, they are being forced to accept a measly increase to $82,108, a puny salary raise of only 62 per cent.

These deplorable working conditions leave only one question unanswered:

Where do I sign up?

Jerry Reitman
Vernon

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/opinion/police-wages/

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RCMP brass not in favour of altering uniform
Vernon Morning Star - Roger Knox - Apr 14th, 2017

Officers have removed yellow stripe as a protest symbol in wage dispute

RCMP management does not endorse its members altering its uniform in a pay dispute.

Officers across the country – including some at the Vernon-North Okanagan detachment – have chosen not to wear the yellow stripe on their uniform pants as a symbol of protest over wage disparities with municipal police forces.

“We are aware that some members of the RCMP are altering their uniforms to draw attention to their concerns.

“RCMP management can understand our members’ concerns, however we do not endorse this action,” said Sgt. Harold Pfleiderer, a media relations officer with the RCMP’s national communication service in Ottawa.

Members have not been disciplined for covering up, removing or changing the colour of the stripe on their pants.

A conduct process, said Pfleiderer, will not be initiated unless some other modification to their uniform has been made which raises an officer or public safety concern.

A member with their yellow stripes either removed or obscured will be allowed to continue working.

“We will take a measured approach to this situation, making sure that service to the community and the safety of our members and the public remain our first priorities,” said Pfleiderer.

Source: https://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/rcmp-brass-not-in-favour-of-altering-uniform/

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Think someone should go see a justice of the peace and see what they would have to say??

OMG LOVE THIS from wiki.clicklaw.bc.ca

Two other possibilities, besides filing a complaint with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP which are useless and just want to collect your evidence are:

Suing the police
If an RCMP officer injured you, caused you property damage, or violated your rights, you may be able to sue the officer or the RCMP (or both) in civil court. Normally, you sue in the BC Supreme Court. You should get legal advice promptly in this case—there will be a time limit for suing.

Criminal charges
If you say that an RCMP officer (LESLIE HOBENSHIELD) committed a crime or broke a law, the RCMP will investigate. The result of the investigation may go to the Regional Crown Counsel—the senior prosecutor for the area—to decide whether to charge the officer with a crime. If the police don’t send a report to the prosecutor, or the prosecutor decides not to charge the officer, you can still go to a Justice of the Peace and ask that the officer be charged. For more information, check script 215, called “Charging Someone with a Criminal Offense”.

Source: http://wiki.clicklaw.bc.ca/index.php/Complaints_Against_the_RCMP_(Script_220)

What if the prosecutor won’t charge the person?

Talk with the prosecutor—if the police send a report to the prosecutor who then decides not to charge the person, you can call the prosecutor to see if they will speak with you. Listen carefully to the prosecutor because they are experts in criminal law. If you have new information, the prosecutor may send you back to the police. In that case, what happens next will depend on what the police choose to do. If you disagree with the police’s decision, you can follow the police complaint process described above.

Charge the person yourself—if the police won’t investigate or the prosecutor won’t charge the person and you still disagree with their decisions, you can ask a Justice of the Peace (a JP) to charge the person based on “private information”. If the offence is in the Criminal Code, a JP has to accept the charge. Even if the JP accepts the charge, in a typical case, unless there is strong evidence of a criminal offence, the prosecutor will likely end it (known as a “stay of prosecution”) because a prosecutor has to meet a higher standard of proof to prove a charge than a JP needs to accept one.

Source: http://wiki.clicklaw.bc.ca/index.php/Charging_Someone_with_a_Criminal_Offense_(Script_215)

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THE RCMP ARE CORRUPT, EVEN THE BCCLA SAYS SO ON THEIR WEBSITE

The BCCLA has an active boycott against both the RCMP and municipal police complaint processes where civil remedies in court are available. After many years of assisting complainants and launching its own complaints,  the BCCLA has concluded that the process is fundamentally flawed and does not work. The BCCLA continues to utilise the complaint process for the purposes of information, law reform and public education.

The BCCLA believes that the police have failed with their internal investigations. The process does not provide adequate or impartial investigation, and the BCCLA chooses not to endorse such a process by continuing to offer assistance to unsuspecting complainants. The complaints process appears to offer lip service to the notion of accountability, and sometimes the complaint process shields officers from responsibility and discipline.

The Police Act, and especially the RCMP Act, are flawed and outdated models of accountability. Some degree of change has been seen from the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner and the provincial government. So far there has been little progress from the RCMP or the federal government. This leaves the courts as the most impartial forum for police complaints to be heard. With the help of a guidebook produced by Pivot Legal Society, the BCCLA recommends that people sue the police, rather than file a police complaint, if they’re seeking an impartial and fair hearing.

Source: http://www.bccla.org/help/POL1.html

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Cops say they're bullied
Castanet.net - The Canadian Press - Feb 21, 2017 | Story: 189522

A group of Calgary Police Service employees plans to submit formal bullying and harassment complaints to the chief to push for changes they say are desperately needed.

Const. Jennifer Magnus, who publicly resigned at a Calgary Police Commission meeting last month, and 12 other employees say the culture of the service protects those who are involved in abusive behaviour in the workplace.

Now Magnus says she's not resigning, because she hopes the complaints will change the culture at the police service.

Magnus told a Calgary radio show that she's holding off on resigning until she speaks further with Chief Roger Chaffin.

The group says that in some cases complainants were told by their superiors that nothing would be done if they filed a grievance, while in others the police union advised some employees it would not take on blue-on-blue complaints.

Lawyer Rachel West says Magnus had a positive meeting with Chaffin last week, and says he's committed to investigating the complaints.

"They cannot turn to the individual and say, 'Look, if you make a complaint, your complaint not only will not be heard, nothing will happen and this is a career-limiting move, do you really want to do this?' That can't be the culture," West said.

Magnus, a 14-year veteran of the force, broke down in tears at the Jan. 31 public Calgary Police Commission meeting over sexual harassment and bullying she says she faces on the job.

She tendered her resignation, and after her presentation, police Chief Roger Chaffin came over, put a hand on her shoulder, and said he would not accept it.

Magnus read from a statement outlining how she had decided to stand up for other members as well as civilian staff who were trying to seek "equality and justice."

She and another officer went to former chief Rick Hanson with their concerns, which led to a human resources audit in 2013.

She said she thought the CPS would hear their concerns and complaints and act to remedy the problem, but instead she told the meeting she was "blamed and disliked for taking a stand for what was right.''

Source: http://www.castanet.net/news/Canada/189522/Cops-say-they-re-bullied

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Vernon judge slams police over 'egregious' strip search
infotel.ca - By Charlotte Helston - February 20, 2017

VERNON - The violation of a man's rights by police was so egregious, a Vernon judge has thrown out a drug trafficking case to make up for it.

Provincial Court Judge Mayland McKimm called it one of the clearest cases where a judicial stay of proceedings is required.

The accused, Christopher Edvin Omar Hjerpe, was charged with two counts of possession of cocaine and heroin for the purpose of trafficking stemming from a February 2014 police investigation in the Vernon area, according to a written judgement dated Jan. 25, 2017.

Police learned from an informant that a vehicle being used to deliver drugs in the Vernon area and officers conducted surveillance of the vehicle on Feb. 25, 2014. Within half an hour, police saw three people make what appeared to be brief transactions at the vehicle. The accused was the only person seen driving the vehicle during that time.

Officers arrested Hjerpe, and a search of the vehicle turned up just over two grams of heroin in nine separate packages, and just over six grams of cocaine, also in various packages, as well as $1,115 in cash. The accused had $773 on him.

Hjerpe immediately asked to speak to a lawyer, McKimm said in the ruling.

“Prior to being transported back to the detachment, the officer-in-charge of the investigation ordered that the accused be subject to a strip search immediately upon his arrival at the police station,” McKimm said.

There was no evidence provided by the officers as to the necessity of conducting a strip search, McKimm said.

The search, which was done in the detachment’s ‘booking area’, occurred in the presence of a civilian guard who observed the entire procedure.  The accused was asked to lower his pants and underwear, bend over, and reveal his rectum. The room itself was video monitored, and McKimm said the search was “available for observation on a closed-circuit television” which enhanced the violation of privacy.

“No inquiries were made of the accused with respect to any religious or cultural concerns with respect to this invasion of privacy. It is significant to note that none of the officers have made any detailed notes with respect to the circumstances of the strip search of the accused,” McKimm said.

After Hjerpe spoke to a lawyer, a decision was made to hold him overnight for court the following day, despite the fact the officers knew court was available for a bail hearing that afternoon and “most certainly” were aware that a bail hearing by telephone was available 24 hours a day, McKimm said.

McKimm said the officers had reasonable grounds to make the arrest, but things went downhill from there. He said there were no reasonable grounds to justify the invasive strip search, and said it was not conducted in a way that minimized the invasion of the accused’s privacy.

“The search in question raises serious concerns with respect to the efforts made to preserve the privacy and dignity of the accused,” McKimm said.

“I would also note that no effort was made by the investigating officers to determine either any religious concerns of the accused nor whether the strip search in question would raise any concerns with respect to the sexual orientation of the accused. In my view, it is incumbent on authorities conducting invasive strip searches that they make inquiries with respect to whether or not those searches would be particularly offensive to the individual as a result of considerations of either culture or sexual orientation,” McKimm said.

The Supreme Court of Canada has found that strip searches are a very serious violation of the integrity and dignity of citizens and has crafted detailed considerations to ensure that the serious invasion of privacy occurs only when absolutely necessary.

“The investigating authorities appear to have no understanding of these fundamental principles,” McKimm said.

He also ruled that Hjerpe’s rights were violated when police detained him for 26 hours after his arrest.

“The officer was not familiar with the requirement that citizens be released as soon as practicable but rather held the erroneous view that the police had the privilege of holding accused persons for 24 hours as a result merely of their arrest,” McKimm said.

He said the seriousness of the two breaches “completely outweighs society’s interest in adjudicating the case on its merits.”

The appropriate remedy, McKimm ruled, was a judicial stay of proceedings, which must only be granted in the clearest cases and when no other remedy will do.

Source: http://infotel.ca/newsitem/vernon-judge-slams-police-over-egregious-strip-search/it39893

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Watchdog criticizes RCMP’s monitoring of use of force, strip-search policies
Douglas Quan | February 16, 2017

How could they make force-wide corrections to use-of-force issues if they’re not even collecting that information, if they’re not even asking those questions in a centralized way?”

VANCOUVER – Canada’s Mounties are failing to monitor use-of-force incidents for problems, just one of several examples of the agency’s lack of transparency and accountability, says a new report from the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP.

For the past seven years, the RCMP has required officers to fill out a detailed report every time they use force — from throwing a punch to firing their gun.

Yet the agency is only now developing a way to review these reports for any problematic trends or issues.

The watchdog also found that the force’s guidelines for strip searches were fuzzy and that officers often failed to properly document cases in which they jailed someone for public intoxication.

“It’s very difficult to hold RCMP officers accountable when we can’t tell from their notes, a high proportion of the time, what they did in a given case — when they used force, how they followed up on a missing-person file, how they dealt with someone who was allegedly publicly intoxicated,” said Josh Paterson, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

Responding to concerns raised by civil liberties and human rights groups about policing in the North, the commission undertook a review of the RCMP’s policing practices and policies in the northern district of British Columbia, where about 18 per cent of the population is aboriginal.

Source: http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/watchdog-criticizes-rcmps-use-of-force-strip-search-policies

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February 13, 2017 RCMP Need Instruction How To Drive

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Similkameen politicians concerned about policing levels
Infotel.ca - By Steve Arstad - January 06, 2017

PENTICTON - Low RCMP staffing levels at the Keremeos detachment have local politicians worried.

Keremeos mayor and Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen director Manfred Bauer approached the regional district board at the regular meeting yesterday, Jan.5, seeking a letter of support for requests to the RCMP for extra staffing at the Keremeos RCMP detachment.

Letters submitted to Solicitor General Mike Morris from the Village of Keremeos and the Lower Similkameen Indian Band cite high turnover, lack of service and long response times as reasons for requesting the RCMP bump the Keremeos detachment up one level of service by making it a sergeant run detachment.

Bauer told directors the detachment is currently managed by a corporal, limiting staffing to a maximum of four. When illness, holidays, training, transfer and career moves are taken into account, the detachment almost never has the full complement of members on duty.

He also noted the high staff turnover rates in the last three to five years impacted the community negatively because members did not have time to form relationships with the community.

Bauer described an instance last month in the village where a Keremeos couple waited 65 minutes for a police response to a man bashing on their door at 2:30 a.m.

Regional district chief administrative officer Bill Newell noted they had previously discussed a lack of policing in the rural communities, in addition to the opening of the Okanagan Correctional facility in Oliver later this month.

The board unanimously agreed to support the request to up the complement of RCMP officers in Keremeos.

Source: http://infotel.ca/newsitem/similkameen-politicians-concerned-about-policing-levels/it38428

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RISK IT OUT

“It’s the same sentiment that applies to hospitals; nobody cares until they actually need that service, and then when the need is there and they can’t get the service, they are concerned about what’s going on,” Gordon says. “It’s an abstract thing until they want to use an emergency department and get there and can’t see a physician for three hours.

RISK IT OUT: Vernon mayor will look into police staffing, but city 'doesn't mandate what the RCMP does'
(CHARLOTTE HELSTON /InfoTel Multimedia) - December 09, 2016

VERNON - Vernon’s mayor continues to stress his confidence in the RCMP, although he admits he doesn’t have all the details about how the detachment does business.

Following a report by iNFOnews.ca that front line police officers are understaffed and forced to ‘risk it out’ on watch shifts, Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund affirmed his full confidence in the RCMP and said in a media release the report contained misinformation about staffing levels.

In an interview after the city released its statement, Mund said he did not know what minimum staffing levels are for city watches or what levels they normally operate at. He said he 'believed' it was clarified that watches do not run as low as two officers. The report by iNFOnews.ca indicated watches have, at times, fallen as low as three to five officers.

When asked if he would look into the concerns raised in the report, he acknowledged he would be in touch with Supt. Jim McNamara.

“We’ll have a discussion with the superintendent and just see what he has to say,” Mund said. “Obviously, we don’t mandate what the RCMP does. We can ask the questions. If we’re allowed to share, we’ll share. If not, for privacy reasons, we won't.”

As of Thursday, Dec. 8, Mund said he had not yet discussed it with the superintendent.

“As far as I know, everything is running well,” Mund said. “If there was a concern I’m sure the superintendent and inspector would voice those concerns to the city. I’m not worried about the amount of officers we have out there right now.”

Supt. McNamara says there are currently 57 officers in the city’s 56 established positions, however due to illness, injuries and administrative leave, the bill is for 48 officers. He said the detachment is working towards the 50 positions funded by the city.

“If the city is being billed for 48 it means that on average we've had 48 roadable officers providing operational police services to the City of Vernon,” McNamara said.

It is unknown how many of the 48 are general duty officers working the watches.

McNamara said the detachment can also redeploy officers from around its five detachment areas as required and watch commanders can call in overtime resources. He does not believe chronic understaffing is leaving police officers or the public in danger.

Source: http://infotel.ca/newsitem/risk-it-out-vernon-mayor-will-look-into-police-staffing-but-city-doesnt-mandate-what-the-rcmp-does/it37700

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RISK IT OUT: Chronic understaffing a longstanding challenge at Vernon RCMP detachment
(CHARLOTTE HELSTON /InfoTel Multimedia) - December 08, 2016

An officer blocks off a section of Pottery Road in Vernon following a shooting incident April 14, 2016. (FILE PHOTO)

VERNON - Chronic understaffing isn't a new problem for Vernon RCMP detachment — it has plagued the department for years, and it’s not the only detachment facing the dilemma.

Back in 2013, former Supt. Reg Burgess said the North Okanagan detachment, which includes Vernon and outlying communities, consistently faced 15 to 20 long term absences at any given time for the past several years. At the time, Burgess, who retired in 2015, said the detachment was operating with between 19 and 27 resources unable to perform duties at any given time.

“This high percentage of non-operational resources often puts us short of the minimal resource levels in any of our areas resulting in excessive overtime, insufficient vacation time, compounded fatigue and stress which in turn contribute in part to our medical absences. Shortages affect sufficient developmental training time for members. They also significantly reduce our ability to conduct proactive policing such as undercover operations and high visibility random patrols,” Burgess said in a report to Vernon councillors.

Sources say those same issues continue to impact the detachment today, with chronic understaffing leaving some watches running short of the minimum manpower needed for officer safety. At times, watches are as low as three officers in the City of Vernon due to difficulty filling shifts, sources say, forcing remaining officers to 'risk it out' when they go on shift.

It should be noted that accounting for RCMP staffing positions is complicated and the language is important. Resources are reported in many different ways. (If you have questions, ask them in the comments below the story.)

Staffing levels within the RCMP are known to fluctuate significantly for various reasons, but what's largely causing the issue is members off duty due to illness, suspension, injury or parental leave which the RCMP often doesn't backfill like municipal police forces do. Police reports to the city between 2012 and today show the number of established positions — within the City of Vernon specifically — have changed little, ranging from 50 to 56, but only 47 to 50 officers actually on the ground. The difference is how many officers are unavailable for duty — on average approximately eight members.


Supt. Reg Burgess retired in March 2015.
(CHARLOTTE HELSTON /InfoTel Multimedia)
‘HIGH IMPACT ON OVERALL OPERATIONS’

In 2013, Burgess told council the strain wasn’t just coming from the 15 to 20 long term absences. He said additional officers — four at the time in the North Okanagan at large — were at work, but on restricted duty status. An additional four to seven short term absences also negatively impacted resource levels, he said.

The number of officers off duty changes constantly, at times on a weekly or even daily basis. Near the end of summer 2013, Burgess said incoming transfers and returns to duty from parental leave in the next few months would help achieve staffing levels required to meet budget obligations, operational needs and “provide relief required to maintain officer wellness.”

Despite the optimism, there was still a significant strain on resources six months later. In December 2013, Burgess said “ongoing issues caused by long and short term medical absences and compounded by the delay of incoming transfers is having a negative impact on our operational capacity.”

He said 12 to 16 soft vacancies were due to medical issues, plus an average of seven to eight officers on restricted duty status.

“Most of these officers are reporting to work in light duty capacity but there is still a high impact on overall operations requiring significant use of overtime to maintain minimal roadable resource,” Burgess said.

In spring 2014, Burgess still had eight to ten members on administrative or medical status within the City of Vernon and said it was “making it difficult to consistently maintain 48 operational members within 56 positions.”

At times, the detachment appears to have had a full complement of officers. Between October to December of 2014, Burgess said all 101 established positions in the greater Vernon detachment were occupied.

Since 2015, it appears the RCMP stopped fully and clearly reporting the number of members on leaves.

RCMP HAS ‘LOST A LOT OF TRACTION’

In addition to leaves, simply getting officers is another challenge. In 2013, the City of Vernon cut its available funding to 48 officers from 50, because the detachment was proving unable to maintain 50 positions. A city official said at the time there was a lot of pressure on Depot, Canada’s RCMP academy, to train and fill vacant positions across the country. That remains true today.

In Kamloops, for example, the city authorizes funding for 130 officers, but the detachment is only billing for 120. Supt. Brad Mueller said the detachment has not yet seen the full arrival of ten new positions approved by the city in May 2015. In Vernon, where the city upped funding back to 50 positions in January 2016, the detachment has only routinely been billing for 48.

According to Statistics Canada, while overall police strength in Canada increased from 1999 to 2010, it declined for four consecutive years from 2011 to 2015.

Dr. Robert Gordon, a criminology professor at Simon Fraser University and a former policeman, says recruiting is a huge problem facing RCMP detachments across Canada.

“A lot of that has to do with changed perspectives on the RCMP,” Gordon says. “It used to be one of Canada’s icons along with Tim Hortons and hockey. It’s lost a lot of traction over the last 20 years,” Gordon says.

He says independent, non-RCMP police forces typically have better success with recruitment, in part because they don’t transfer officers across the country, as the RCMP does.

This year, the RCMP loosened its requirements for entry into its police academy, Depot, in part to help fill the gap left by hundreds of retiring police officers.

Recent news reports chronicle issues of understaffing and excessive use of overtime across the country. In Saskatchewan, the Minister of Justice is exploring understaffing issues caused by vacancies.

VERNON DETACHMENT TODAY


Supt. Jim McNamara
(CHARLOTTE HELSTON /InfoTel Multimedia)
Supt. Jim McNamara says the city’s share of the North Okanagan detachment presently has "57 officers in 56 established positions," however due to illness, injuries and administrative leave, it is billing for 48 operational officers — nine less than its established positions.

McNamara has said he does not believe chronic under staffing is leaving police officers, or the public, in danger. He said the detachment can re-deploy resources throughout its five detachment areas, as needed.

However, it appears those detachments are experiencing similar staffing pressures.

Because municipalities over 5,000 people have to pay for their own police services, both Spallumcheen and Coldstream budget a certain amount for officers in their areas. A report from the Ministry of Justice on police resources in 2014, the last year available, indicates Coldstream has an authorized strength of seven positions, and Spallumcheen three, roughly the same as today. Police reports on the first nine months of 2016 show the detachment only billed Coldstream for five to six positions, and Spallumcheen between one and 2.4.

Other detachments in the area are covered by the province. According to figures from 2014, the province authorizes six positions in Armstrong, eight in Enderby and three in Falkland. It also authorizes nine in Vernon, for a total of 36 positions in the five detachments, also roughly the same as today. To date in 2016, the detachment’s bill to the province has ranged from 27 to 30 positions.

McNamara also said shift schedules and resources have been adjusted to re-deploy general duty officers to peak policing hours “with the intent of increasing service levels to the public by decreasing response time to priority calls and by increasing time available to our officers for proactive policing.”

Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund recently affirmed his confidence in the RCMP.

Despite McNamara's and Mund's assurances, sources with knowledge of the situation say the frontline officers remain understaffed.

Source: http://infotel.ca/newsitem/risk-it-out-chronic-understaffing-a-longstanding-challenge-at-vernon-rcmp-detachment/it37647

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Editor's Note in response to allegations from Vernon RCMP Supt. Jim McNamara
Infotel - By Marshall Jones - December 03, 2016

Editor’s note:

• Watch shifts at the Vernon detachment have fallen as low as three roadable officers.
• The department suffers from chronic understaffing.
• Sources, who we trust and who have knowledge of the situation, say understaffing is creating dangerous work conditions for officers on the road.

That’s what our first story on chronic understaffing at the Vernon RCMP detachment alleged. They remain entirely unaddressed by Supt. Jim McNamara statement yesterday or by the City of Vernon in its response Thursday.

Supt. McNamara alleges ‘significant inaccuracies’ in our story. We have found one error in our reporting, specifically the number of roadable officers.

He says: “If the city is being billed for 48 it means that on average we've had 48 roadable officers providing operational police services to the City of Vernon.”

That is a clear statement we have no basis to refute. It is also the first time he gave us that direct figure of roadable officers, despite our direct questions. We extrapolated the number was 38 to 40. We have corrected the information and noted the correction where it appeared, as per our policy. While we don't take errors lightly, it was immaterial to the story. We invite Supt. McNamara to explain his allegation that the "significant error" “compromises both officer and public safety.”

Supt. McNamara also says: “When (reporter Charlotte Helston) contacted me with questions on staffing, overtime and leave I provided her with detailed, factual answers. She literally used less than ten words from what I gave her.”

This is accurate.

Supt. McNamara provided plenty of information, some of which we intended and still intend to use in further reporting on the subject. However, much of the information he has supplied did not aid our efforts to understand the issue facing his officers and the community of Vernon. He refused all requests for interviews for this story.

We share Supt. McNamara's concern for officer and public safety. We look forward to returning to the discussion this story has provoked.

Mj

Marshall Jones
Editor
iNFOnews.ca

Source: http://infotel.ca/newsitem/editors-note-in-response-to-allegations-from-vernon-rcmp-supt-jim-mcnamara/it37464

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Vernon RCMP Supt. responds to 'RISK IT OUT'
(CHARLOTTE HELSTON /InfoTel Multimedia) December 03, 2016

Editor,

I am concerned by significant inaccuracies that could compromise both officer and public safety, in the November 30th Infonews article by Charlotte Helston on RCMP staffing in Vernon.

To set the record straight, I do not believe chronic under staffing is leaving our police officers or the public in danger. Ms. Helston’s article is largely based on information from anonymous sources. Unfortunately anonymous sources, or those not working within our environment, don’t have to account for misinformation they're providing. When she contacted me with questions on staffing, overtime and leave I provided her with detailed, factual answers. She literally used less than ten words from what I gave her.

Ms. Helston acknowledges the City of Vernon is paying for 48 officers then states "estimates would indicate the number of roadable officers is closer to 38 or 40." During my public budget presentation to council on November 30, I advised we are working to increase the number of police officers to the 50 approved by council. We presently have 57 officers in the 56 established positions, however due to illness, injuries and administrative leave, we're billing for 48 officers. If the city is being billed for 48 it means that on average we've had 48 roadable officers providing operational police services to the City of Vernon.

Furthermore, ours is a regional integrated detachment which re-deploys resources amongst our five detachment areas as required. Vernon has established minimum resource levels and our Watch Commanders have the authority to call in overtime resources.

After a rigorous analysis of shifting demands, this year we adjusted shift schedules and resources to re-deploy general duty officers to peak policing hours. This will decrease response time to priority calls and increase time available for pro-active policing. Ms. Helston was provided with this information and chose not to share it.

Finally, as a result of the excellent work being done by our officers, the numbers are going in the right direction. From 2014-2015 there was a 2% decrease in the overall Crime Severity index in Vernon and this year from January to August we’ve actually seen a 5.9% decrease in violent crime compared to last year.

Vernon has a police detachment of extremely competent, capable and dedicated employees. I’m very proud of the work they do to keep our community safe.

Supt. J.B. McNamara
Officer in Charge
Vernon/North Okanagan Detachment

Source: http://infotel.ca/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/vernon-rcmp-supt-responds-to-risk-it-out/it37460

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RISK IT OUT: How police understaffing impacts officers, communities and crime
By Charlotte Helston - InfoTel Multimedia - December 02, 2016

VERNON - Understaffed police detachments can lead to low morale among officers, less success reducing crime and slower response times, according to criminologists.

Earlier this week, iNFOnews.ca reported on chronic understaffing at the Vernon RCMP detachment, and Dr. Irwin Cohen, the RCMP research chair at the University of the Fraser Valley, says those issues could have an impact on how officers do their work.

Cohen, who has studied several B.C. detachments and surveyed officers during confidential interviews, says the issue of morale is one of the main symptoms of understaffing.

“Members are over-worked, they have low morale. They’re understaffed to start with, so when a proportion of the workforce doesn’t show up, due to maternity, paternity leave or training, it does put a strain on the members who do show up,” he says.

That strain could affect officer performance by reducing the amount of time they can spend at crime scenes and forcing them to be more reactive than proactive when it comes to crime reduction.

“They are more likely to go call-to-call-to-call than do all the things we know police can do really well in reducing calls for service,” Cohen says.

Vernon saw nearly a nine per cent uptick in property crime in the summer of 2016, compared to the same period in 2015, including a significant increase in thefts from vehicles and break-and-enters. Cohen is reluctant to say low staffing levels are behind the spike, but says officers who have time for proactive policing are usually able to drive those types of crimes down.

“I would suggest having a sufficient number of members who are dedicated to proactive policing, and having connections between general duty and your property crime unit and prolific offender program… so you can be proactive rather than reactive, yes would have an impact on property crime,” Cohen says.

Just as there are prolific offenders, Cohen says there are three main ‘prolific problems’ that are driving crime today: addiction, mental health and homelessness — issues which involve the RCMP, but which also beg attention from health authorities, governments, schools and families.

Cohen’s research into RCMP detachments provides a third-party look at how police stations are run, and it’s had some tangible results. His study into the Surrey RCMP recommended 47 additional general duty officers, a call that came after it was revealed some 75 officers weren’t hitting the streets due to sick leave, maternity leave and other absences.

But it’s not all about increased manpower, Cohen says. It’s also how you use it. A number of detachments, including Vernon, are doing something called a General Duty Staffing Assessment to figure out the best use of the resources they have.

Vernon RCMP Supt. Jim McNamara told iNFOnews.ca by email Nov. 10 the assessment is currently underway but could not say when it would be completed. The internal review is conducted in collaboration with the district commander, officer in charge, the general duty staffing committee, and E-Division Business Intelligence Unit.

Cohen says it’s a good way to find out what staffing levels are required in order for officers to respond to the calls they get, while also finding time for proactive policing.

“Say a police officer gets to do a minute-and-a-half of proactive policing until the next call comes in,” Cohen says. “Now say we’d like 30 per cent of (the officer’s) time to be proactive. Then, what is the force-level required so proactive policing isn’t done a minute at a time, but so you have enough members on the road so that for two hours a member can just do proactive policing.”

PERCEPTION OF SAFETY

Rob Gordon, professor of criminology at Simon Fraser University, says understaffing boils down to two main issues, and they both impact the public: Officer safety and efficiency.

A former policeman, Gordon gives the example of having two officers per car — which is not mandatory within the RCMP, although officers are advocating for that to change. While it costs more, Gordon says it solves the problem of waiting for back up, and leads police to be more courageous than they would be alone.

Another aspect is the perception of public safety.

“If you see more officers around, it makes people feel more comfortable and improves a sense of social well-being,” Gordon says.

But it’s not just perception. Short-staffed detachments are likely to find themselves in a public relations nightmare when citizens find themselves calling police.

“It’s the same sentiment that applies to hospitals; nobody cares until they actually need that service, and then when the need is there and they can’t get the service, they are concerned about what’s going on,” Gordon says. “It’s an abstract thing until they want to use an emergency department and get there and can’t see a physician for three hours.”

The RCMP serves the community, and in that respect Gordon says citizens ought to have a voice in how that service is delivered.

“People need to be alert to what’s going on and ask questions of the person in charge of the detachment about how the resources available are being used,” he says. “Vernon probably would benefit from a police committee. That’s a move that should be initiated by the mayor, and council, in (conjunction) with the RCMP detachment… in order to facilitate effective policing in the city.”

Source: http://infotel.ca/newsitem/risk-it-out-how-police-understaffing-impacts-officers-communities-and-crime/it37451

Blue Divider Line

Vernon mayor affirms confidence in RCMP following iNFOnews.ca report
(CHARLOTTE HELSTON /InfoTel Multimedia) December 01, 2016

VERNON - Vernon’s mayor is affirming his confidence in the RCMP following a recent report by iNFOnews.ca into staffing levels at the detachment.

Mund says in a media release council fully supports the RCMP detachment in Vernon and the service they provide to residents.

“We have complete confidence in their ability to mobilize resources throughout the North Okanagan as required,” Mund says.

Our story, ‘RISK IT OUT’: Chronic RCMP understaffing leaving Vernon cops in danger’ reported the detachment is short an estimated 15.7 per cent of its staff at any given time due to vacancies. Our story reported that watches are often left running short of members, putting officers at risk.

The release from the city states there were ‘several inaccuracies regarding staffing levels and caseloads’ — including the number of active members on duty — that could ‘lead residents to believe that the safety of the community and the officers was at risk.’

However, it does not offer the number of active members on duty, nor their caseloads.

Mund said the city budgets 50 funded officer positions, and added that officer strength can vary from 48 to 56 positions. The iNFOnews.ca investigation, however, found that the city is routinely only ever billed for roughly 48 officers. The city authorizes a maximum strength of 56 officers to provide for budgeting flexibility, however at the end of the year it will only pay for a maximum of 50 — not 56.

Mund noted there have been several high profile cases handled by the RCMP this year, including an arson case, an investigation into a shooting at the Green Valley Motel, the murder of local man Jason Hardy, and numerous investigations into child pornography cases. Mund also said the RCMP has made concerted efforts over the past several months to target escalating violence linked to the drug trade.

It's unclear, however, what role the short-handed watch complement played in those investigations.

“Superintendent Jim McNamara and Inspector Gord Stewart have always been communicative to council and we appreciate their transparency,” Mund said. “Under the leadership of Supt. McNamara, the members have demonstrated their capacity to adapt to shifting demands in policing and to continue to provide optimal levels of public safety.”

Source: http://infotel.ca/newsitem/vernon-mayor-affirms-confidence-in-rcmp-following-infonewsca-report/it37425

Blue Divider Line

'RISK IT OUT': Chronic RCMP understaffing leaving Vernon cops in danger
InfoTel - By Charlotte Helston - November 30, 2016

'SOMEONE IS GOING TO GET INJURED HERE'

VERNON - As police officers assemble for the watch at the Vernon RCMP detachment, they look around to see who’s got their back for the next 12-hour shift.

It’s no minor concern. We all rely on police to save us from dangerous situations, but who comes running for police when they are in danger? Not long ago, a Vernon RCMP officer could expect seven to nine other officers on their watch ready to roll for an emergency, but not anymore.

Sources tell iNFOnews.ca sometimes it's four or three. Other times, just two other officers are on the street to back them up.

They do the only thing they can do: 'Risk it out.’

That’s become a common refrain inside the RCMP as they head out onto the streets to serve and protect a population nearing 40,000 people. And it’s putting officers in danger, sources say.

At any given time, a number of the detachment's officers are on leave for injury, illness or administrative leave. The Vernon detachment is authorized to have 56 positions, although it only has funding from the city for 50 officers and must budget accordingly. Due to roughly nine of 57 established officers currently on leave (roughly 15.7 per cent of the workforce), there are 48 roadable, operational officers. To make up the difference, ‘road-able’ officers — those capable of responding — often work overtime to cover shifts, adding work and family stress to difficult situations. But they can't always be relied upon to show up on their time off, forcing watches to make do with what they have. And while the situation reaches crisis levels in Vernon, our investigation shows it’s part of a greater problem within RCMP detachments across the country.

“YOU CAN GET SPREAD THIN REALLY FAST”

Dennis Connelly is a retired cop of 25 years who, when interviewed at a Vernon coffee shop, still picks a seat facing the room so he can see everyone. Much of his career was spent in Ontario and the Yukon, but he served as a general duty member in Vernon for a short spell before retiring here in 2012.

He remembers shift minimums being roughly ten officers to a watch back in his day; one sergeant, one corporal, and roughly eight constables on the road. And you needed each and every one, he says.

“You’ve got an accident on one end of the detachment area, you get a fire at the other end, you get some alarms going off at downtown stores, and then you get a domestic over at someone’s house,” Connelly says. “It’s happened where you have two domestics at two different areas. Well, there’s four of your eight. Add a motor vehicle accident, you’ve got two more. Then you’re running two people watching the rest of the City of Vernon. You can get spread thin really fast.”

And each one of those calls can carry unexpected risks; domestic disputes are notoriously dangerous, as are traffic incidents. Three years ago, in Kamloops, RCMP Const. Jean-Rene Michaud made a routine traffic stop at 2 a.m. when the subject pulled a gun and shot him six times.

The challenge comes when RCMP officers take maternity leave, paternity leave, sick leave, are suspended, away for training or off due to injuries. While other employers, including private city police forces, are compelled to make up for lost resources in the name of safety, the RCMP doesn’t. And it is creating an escalating cascade of new problems putting officers at risk and leaving crimes unattended.

Members who are on leave still get paid and count as established positions — technically they even remain named to watches — but Connelly says the positions are not filled until the officer returns.

“In the grand scheme of things, those people are still on your watch. If someone asks ‘is your watch full?’ the answer’s yes, but it’s not,” Connelly says. “They’re still on your watch, but they’re not there for a year. They’re not replaced.”

Instead, watches that are short due to soft vacancies are typically filled on over time by remaining officers.

“Extra money is always a good thing, but when it continues on for long, extended periods of time, it gets to be you want your own time off,” Connelly says.

He’s seen officers become so overworked that calling in sick or taking stress leave is used as an escape. That in turn puts even more pressure on the officers who do show up.

“Stress becomes an issue. You feel obliged to come in, but it just impacts your life,” he says. “It kills morale.”

Each officer is responsible for a caseload of files, and Vernon has one of the highest officer caseloads in the province, according to the Ministry of Justice. In a comparison of municipalities with populations over 15,000 from 2014, officers in Vernon had a caseload of 84, second only to Fort St. John, which had 91. When officers are on leave, not only do watches run short, cops also have to take on extra case files.

Contrast the RCMP approach to Port Moody, which has an independently run police service overseeing a population just slightly below Vernon’s, where the detachment’s 51 members carry a caseload of just 20 files each. According to a spokesperson for the Port Moody Police Department, watches have a maximum strength of six and an enforced minimum of four officers. That's in a city with one-third the patrollable area and 6,000 fewer residents.

Connelly, who worked as an RCMP recruiter, believes staffing issues can in large part be traced back to a shortage of officers country-wide, and the loss of candidates to independent police forces.

“I think the allure of the red serge of the RCMP doesn’t have the same impact anymore. People don’t want to work in small communities, they don’t want to get transferred and moved all over the place,” he says. “Unless things have changed from when I retired, we fall further and further behind every year.”

Operations at the Vernon detachment are not an open book and we did not receive any specific information about staffing levels from Supt. Jim McNamara, the officer in charge. He would not publicly provide the total number of general duty positions, nor the number of officers on a watch, due to operational and officer safety reasons, but when asked if things have changed since 2014, when former Supt. Reg Burgess reported difficulty maintaining 48 operational members due to eight to ten members being on medical or administrative status, McNamara acknowledged the numbers remain consistent with previous years.

MAYOR NOT CONCERNED

The city authorizes funding for each officer position within its municipal bounds, but Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund admits he knows little about what the city gets for its money.

“All we know is there’s a certain amount they ask for that we pay for…. That’s about the number we get, and that’s all we know, because how they staff and all that, we don’t get involved in that as politicians,” Mund says.

He could not say exactly how many positions are currently filled, or how many officers are expected, at minimum, on watches.

He says the detachment has not asked the city for an increase in funding since 2015, and he has not personally heard of any staffing related issues.

“I’ve heard nothing. Nope, nothing,” Mund says.

There’s likely a good reason for that. Officers who speak publicly can be fired and perhaps lose their careers in RCMP Code of Conduct hearings for speaking out publicly about the dangers they face.

When advised that staffing concerns had been expressed to iNFOnews.ca, Mund said he couldn’t comment without knowing where the information came from.

“I can’t say I’m concerned because people can say anything,” he says. “I don’t know where the information came from.”

Officially, the Vernon detachment has approval for 50 officers to cover the City of Vernon specifically, though two positions have remained unfilled since last year, meaning the city is paying for 48 officers.

The city’s chief administrative officer Will Pearce confirmed the city provides funding for 50 officers, but said that number is rarely if ever billed for due to challenges with vacancies.

“In the RCMP, from the nature of the job, there is quite a combination, some turnover (with) officers moving to other roles or detachments for promotions, plus all the usual stuff, maternity, paternity leave, sick leave…. That’s all fairly active in the RCMP,” Pearce says.

According to a report by the Ministry of Justice released in 2015, the latest figures available, authorized staffing levels at the detachment sharply decreased by nine members from 2009 to 2014.

“I do know there was a run up in the number of positions and authorized strengths due to a lot of activity — negative activity,” Pearce says of the greater number of positions authorized in 2009. “Council of the day said we’re going to put more officers on the streets.”

In addition to the regular bill for 48 members, the city also paid $331,487 in over time costs from April 2015 to March 2016 but neither the city nor McNamara could be specific about how that money was spent or why.

RCMP CHRONICALLY UNDERSTAFFED

Rob Creasser, a retired Mountie from Kamloops and spokesperson for the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada, says staffing levels and officer safety are a concern across the country, not just in Vernon.

“Right now, the RCMP, we believe, is so critically under-resourced it’s causing all kinds of other issues,” Creasser says.

Detachments set minimum staffing levels for watches, but Creasser says they are not enforceable. In non-RCMP forces, Labour Codes and unions can help enforce staffing levels for officer safety. The RCMP has no union.

Instead, Creasser says, RCMP watch commanders try to meet minimums, but are often forced to ‘risk it out’ when they can’t get enough people to cover the shift. That’s cutting it close for officer safety, he says, and it’s not theoretical. The RCMP was charged with four counts related to equipment, training and supervision under the Canada Labour Code following the fatal shootings of three officers in Moncton, NB in 2014.

“There is no mathematical formula you can apply to say it’s going to be slow tonight, or we can afford to not bring in enough people….” Creasser says. “You should have minimum manpower allotted and (it) should be enforced.”

Another source, who cannot be named, put it more bluntly.

“They (officers) are not getting the support they used to,” the source says. “It is a huge safety issue. I think someone is going to get injured here.”

— This story was corrected at 9 a.m. Dec. 3, 2016 to say 15.7 per cent of the Vernon detachment’s officers are away on leave, leaving it with 48 roadable members. An earlier version of this story stated 20 per cent were off the job, leaving an estimated 38 to 40 roadable members.

Source: http://infotel.ca/newsitem/risk-it-out-chronic-rcmp-understaffing-leaving-vernon-cops-in-danger/it37364

Blue Divider Line

Letter: Mystery of Kelowna's top cop retirement
Kelowna Capital News - Sep 29, 2016

To the editor:

Today we find that the police have been secretly investigating themselves.

We also discover that Kelowna RCMP superintendent Nick Romanchuk has secretly left the service to start his collection of a 25-year public pension. [City's Top Cop Retires as External Investigation is Launched, Sept. 28 Kelowna Capital News.]

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran tells us that there is a wonderful partnership between the RCMP and the City of Kelowna. Neither he nor our city council know anything about these police secrets. We are told that even Rob Mayne, who is the municipal bureaucrat we pay a handsome salary to serve the taxpayers as the director of protective services, is surprised by the revelation of these secrets.

By far the largest portion of our property taxes is paid to the RCMP every year. In return this “partnership” delivers to the citizens a police force peppered with secrets.

Did the B.C. attorney general know about the secret investigations and top cop “retirement”?

Did Prime Minister Trudeau’s famously 'transparent' politicians and civil service know what is going on in Kelowna?

The very corrupt and immoral Cuba, Russia, North Korea, Kelowna. Where do you live?

Robert Carruthers, Kelowna

Source: http://www.kelownacapnews.com/opinion/letters/395269301.html

Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon October 24, 2016 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Alternative Approval Process Underway
The Regional Board has approved proceeding with the Alternative Approval Process to confirm elector support before adopting the Crime Stoppers Conversion and Establishment Bylaw. If least 10% of the estimated 157,812 eligible electors in the Central Okanagan do not support establishing a regional Crime Stoppers service, the Regional Board would not consider adopting the bylaw without first putting it to a referendum. Those opposed to the bylaw have until December 2nd to submit Elector Response Forms which are available at the RDCO office, 1450 KLO Road in Kelowna and at www.regionaldistrict.com. The existing Crime Stoppers program was initially established in 1988 by the Regional Board as a grant-in-aid service. The Board now wishes to convert the program to a regional service at no extra cost to taxpayers.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 24, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (224 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 24, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 6.1 RDCO Crime Stoppers Service Conversion and Establishment Bylaw No. 1391 (Alternative Approval Process)  - .wma (1.29 MB)

.pdf icon October 24, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes of RDCO Board meetings are not usually posted to RDCO's website until after the following meeting which would be November 10th.  If the minutes are not posted here yet, you can check RDCO's website to see if they are posted there yet.  If you want a copy of the minutes before then, contact RDCO who will have a copy of the minutes at their office within 7 days after you request a copy of the minutes.  This is in accordance to Local Government Act Procedure Bylaws and Enforcement section 794 (5) and Community Charter Other records to which public access must be provided section 97 (2)

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Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon July 14, 2016 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Crime Stoppers Service Conversion
The Regional Board has given three readings to a proposed Crime Stoppers Conversion and Establishment Bylaw. As well, the Board has approved using the Alternative Approval Process to confirm elector support. The existing Crime Stoppers program was initially established in 1988 by the Regional Board as a grant-in-aid under the Statutory Letters Patent. The Board now wishes to convert the program to a regional service delivery program. The bylaw will be submitted for approval by the Provincial Government. Once approval is received, staff will provide a report to the Board outlining details of the Alternative Approval Process this fall. If least 10% of the eligible electorate does not support establishing a regional Crime Stoppers service, the Regional Board would not consider adopting the bylaw without first putting it to a referendum.

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.pdf icon July 14, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

7. CORPORATE SERVICES

7.1 Crime Stoppers Service Program
Staff report dated July 5, 2016 outlined the requirement to convert the Letters Patent, which was approved by the Province of BC in 1988 for the Crime Stoppers Program, to an establishment bylaw. In terms of process, a bylaw requires approval of the Board, the Province, as well as consent of the electorate. Staff is recommending an AAP process. This converts a program which is already being done into a formal bylaw service.

7.1.1 Participating Area Approval for the Entire Proposed Service Area Alternative Approval Process (LGA Section 345) (All
Directors - Unweighted Vote - 2/3 of vote cast (LGA 342[4])
STACK/BAKER
THAT the Regional Board approve that participating approval for the Crime Stoppers Service Conversion and Establishment Bylaw No. 1391 is to be obtained for the entire proposed service area by Alternative Approval Process.
CARRIED Unanimously

7.1.2 Crime Stoppers Service Conversion & Establishment Bylaw No. 1391 First, Second and Third Reading (All Directors - Unweighted Vote Simple Majority- LGA 208.1)
BAKER/FORTIN
THAT Regional District of Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers Service Conversion and Establishment Bylaw No. 1391, 2016 be given first, second and third readings and forwarded to the Inspector of Municipalities for approval.
CARRIED Unanimously

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.pdf icon April 14, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

5.2 Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers Website Update - Christene Walsh, Protective Services Manager & Gerry Guiltenane, Crime Stoppers Coordinator

Crime Stopper staff were introduced to the Committee. Crime Stoppers updated its website this year www.crimestoppers.net. An overview was provided. The specific pages were highlighted:
- Most Wanted - also published on other media outlets.
- Mobile friendly.
- Unsolved crime.
- Hot Recs - a take-off from hot cars. Recreational vehicles (boats, ATVs, motorcycles, trailers).
- Missing persons
- News - information on issues such as 'End Gang Life'; Turn in the Tagger
- Become a Volunteer. The Board is volunteer based.
- Sponsors and Donation section.
- Background information of the program.
- Submitting a tip - talk, text, type. All tips are confidential and anonymous should the tipster wish to be.
Discussion:
Does the new provincial registration for ATVs make a difference in recovery?
Hard to say, registration is fairly new.
- RDCO and the Society will be producing a news release advertising the new site.
- Staff work with pawn shop and RCMP coordinator.
- CRA scam, rental scams - reported to the police. May be reported to the Canadian anti-fraud site.
- When reporting crime how is the information disseminated? Tips go through RCMP liaison media person. Crime Stoppers will put information on their website.
SINGH/BAKER
THAT the update on the Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers website be received for information.
CARRIED

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Blue Divider Line

LETTERS: Enough with the noisemakers in the Okanagan
April 8, 2016 - Kelowna Daily Courier

To the editor:

One of the benefits associated with having a combined municipal, provincial, and national police force, like the RCMP, is the simple fact that no matter what the issue or location, the RCMP has jurisdiction.
In the case of the operation of motor vehicles with exhaust systems that do not meet established noise-level standards, all we have to do is file the complaint and the problem should be resolved.
The ongoing dog and pony show associated with an increasing number of motorcycles and pickup trucks on our streets and highways with exhaust systems designed purposely to produce noise levels that borders the obnoxious, has to stop — now.
The Okanagan is no longer a place to relax.
Every day, the air is filled with a constant roar, produced by bikes and motor vehicles with radically inadequate muffler systems.
Visitors are telling us the Okanagan Valley has become the most obnoxious place to visit — anywhere.
A number of Canadian municipalities have committed to addressing this development, and the good news is the laws are in place, and they are as valid and enforceable as the day they were written.
The bad news is our politicians will use every excuse they can think of, to not enforce them, like they did last year, and the year before.

Andy Thomsen, Peachland

Source: http://www.kelownadailycourier.ca/opinion/article_330d69ce-fcf3-11e5-a7b9-ab84420987a6.html

Blue Divider Line

Pot activist Dana Larsen survives Kelowna; arrested in Calgary on cross-Canada tour
Apr 7, 2016 - by Kevin Parnell - Kelowna Capital News

Pro marijuana activist Dana Larsen speaking at a Kelowna event Tuesday night. — Image Credit: Kevin Parnell

If marijuana activist Dana Larsen was looking for some momentum to kick off a cross country tour to promote the legalization of marijuana, he found it in a packed hotel meeting room in downtown Kelowna on Tuesday night.

But by Wednesday night in Calgary Larsen had been arrested and charged as his OverGrow Canada tour made its second of 14 scheduled stops.

Larsen, 44, of Vancouver, was charged with one count of trafficking marijuana and one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking. He was released from custody and is expected to appear in court on May 18.

Earlier this week in Kelowna, more than 120 people crammed into a hotel room to listen to Larsen and to receive the free cannabis seeds he had promised to give away, asking people to plant them in a public place as an act of civil disobedience and a way to urge the federal Liberals to follow through on their promise to legalize marijuana.

Following the meeting, as volunteers from his group handed out the seeds, Larsen said he would be surprised if police arrested him, even though it was technically illegal what he was doing.

"It's true I'm breaking the law but it's like people jay-walking to get here, it's that level of breaking the law," he said. "Police are not going to come and drag me away for giving away some seeds to people. It would just be ridiculous so that's not going to happen."

And in Kelowna, RCMP did not attend the rally and Larsen's tour called OverGrow Canada moved on to its second stop in Calgary on Wednesday night. According to media reports in Calgary, first a volunteer was arrested and later Larsen was arrested as he handed out cannabis seeds in much the same manner.

When questioned by the Capital News about why RCMP did not arrest Larsen in Kelowna, RCMP media relations officer Annie Delisle released the following statement.

"According to the Controlled Drug and Substance Act (CDSA)…Non-viable Cannabis seed, with the exception of its derivatives; are not controlled under the CDSA," read the statement. "RCMP detachments set enforcement priorities in consultation with local government, partners and citizens of the community. Individuals found to be in contravention of the CDSA may be subject to investigation and criminal charges in accordance with Canadian Laws."

In Kelowna Larsen said the viability of the cannabis seeds was one reason an arrest likely wouldn't be made.

"It's trafficking in marijuana under the law but they have to be viable seeds and even though I'm telling you they will grow, they will need to grow them and sprout them and then say 'oh look they are viable' so it's a lot of effort for them to prove I am giving away viable seeds. It's just not worth the effort. Even if they convicted me I would get a 100 dollar fine or something so the amount of effort for the amount of result is not worth anybody's time."


Larsen said the turnout in Kelowna was heart-warming and showed there is a lot of interest in legalizing marijuana.

"This was behind my wildest expectations in terms of the turnout," said Larsen after the 90 minute meeting. "I know there is enthusiasm about cannabis but having this room packed and people standing in the hallway, that to me is very heart-warming to see that level of support and interest. I think it just shows how hungry Canadians, and people in Kelowna, are for legalization."

Larsen is a well-known Vancouver-based cannabis activist and founder of the Vancouver Dispensary Society, the B.C. and Canadian Marijuana political parties as well as Sensible B.C.

Following his arrest in Calgary he told the media that he would continue his tour but would no longer be handing out free seeds as that would land him back in jail.

Source: http://www.kelownacapnews.com/news/374951431.html

Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon January 14, 2016 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Service Reviews Supported

The Regional Board has received a number of reports following scheduled reviews of eleven separate services. The Board supports the continued service delivery model for the following regional and sub-regional services: Solid Waste Collection, Crime Stoppers, Crime Prevention, False Alarm Reduction and Victim Services.

Two of the services reviewed that are funded by ratepayers in the two Electoral Areas are supported by the Electoral Area Directors for continued delivery: Business Licensing and Unsightly Premises Bylaw Enforcement. The two Directors support the continued delivery of Okanagan Regional Library Services in the Electoral Areas while staff pursues concerns about using the most accurate and reflective population figures to ensure a fair proration of funding requisitions.

The Electoral Area Directors received the service reviews for Noise Control Bylaw Enforcement, Building Inspection and Electoral Area Fire Prevention and will meet with the Chief Administrative to discuss service delivery options including potential withdrawal from the service.

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Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files January 14, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.1E RCMP Victim Assistance Program Service Review - .wma (249 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files January 14, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.1F Crime Prevention Service Review - .wma (197 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files January 14, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.1G False Alarm Reduction Program Service Review - .wma (164 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files January 14, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.1H Crime Stoppers Program Service Review - .wma (575 KB)

.pdf icon January 14, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 7.1E RCMP Victim Assistance Program Service Review

.pdf icon Item 7.1F Crime Prevention Service Review

.pdf icon Item 7.1G False Alarm Reduction Program Service Review

.pdf icon Item 7.1H Crime Stoppers Program Service Review

*Note* Below is only a snippet, please click link above for entire content

SUBJECT: RCMP Victim Assistance Program - Service Review
Purpose: To bring forward recommendations from the Governance & Services Committee with regard to the service review for the RCMP Victim Assistance Services Program.
Executive Summary:
The attached service review report was presented at the November 12, 2015 Governance & Services Committee meeting and the following resolution was adopted:
THAT the Governance and Services Committee recommend the Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the RCMP Victim Assistance Program.
CARRIED Unanimously
RECOMMENDATION:
THAT the Regional Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the RCMP Victims Assistance Program,
Respectfully Submitted:
Brian Reardon
Chief Administrative Officer

==========================

SUBJECT: Crime Prevention - Service Review
Purpose: To bring forward recommendations from the Governance & Services Committee
with regard to the service review for the Crime Prevention Services Program.
Executive Summary:
The attached service review report was presented at the November 12, 2015 Governance &
Services Committee meeting and the following resolution was adopted:
#50/15
THAT the Governance and Services Committee recommend the Board continue to support the
current service delivery model for the Crime Prevention Program.
CARRIED (Opposed: Carson)
RECOMMENDATION:
THAT the Regional Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the Crime
Prevention Program.
Respectfully Submitted:
Brian Reardon
Chief Administrative Officer

===========================

SUBJECT: False Alarm Reduction Program - Service Review
Purpose: To bring forward recommendations from the Governance & Services Committee with regard to the service review for the False Alarm Reduction Services Program.
Executive Summary:
The attached service review report was presented at the November 12, 2015 Governance & Services Committee meeting and the following resolution was adopted:
THAT the Governance and Services Committee recommend the Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the False Alarm Reduction Program;
AND FURTHER THAT staff be directed to update the False Alarm Reduction Bylaw No. 1081.
CARRIED Unanimously
Further, the update to the False Alarm Reduction Bylaw has been completed and adopted by the Regional Board at its December 7, 2015 meeting.
RECOMMENDATION:
THAT the Regional Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the False Alarm Reduction Program.
Respectfully Submitted:
Brian Reardon
Chief Administrative Officer

===========================

SUBJECT: Crime Stoppers Program - Service Review
Purpose: To bring forward recommendations from the Governance & Services Committee with regard to the service review for the Crime Stoppers Services Program.
Executive Summary:
The attached service review report was presented at the November 12, 2015 Governance & Services Committee meeting and the following resolution was adopted:
THAT the Governance and Services Committee recommend the Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the Crime Stoppers Program.
CARRIED Unanimously
RECOMMENDATION:
THAT the Regional Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the Crime Stoppers Program.
Respectfully Submitted:
Brian Reardon
Chief Administrative Officer

-------------------------------

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio January 14, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (415 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files January 14, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.1E RCMP Victim Assistance Program Service Review - .wma (249 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files January 14, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.1F Crime Prevention Service Review - .wma (197 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files January 14, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.1G False Alarm Reduction Program Service Review - .wma (164 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files January 14, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.1H Crime Stoppers Program Service Review - .wma (575 KB)

.pdf icon January 14, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

The Administrator noted that establishment bylaws will be reviewed as there are new sections in the Local Government Act that came into effect January 1, 2016 that may apply to the bylaws.

e) RCMP Victim Assistance Program - Service Review (All Directors - Weighted Vote)
Staff report dated January 4, 2016 outlined the 2015 service review for the RCMP Victim Assistance Program.
BAKER/BASRAN
THAT the Regional Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the RCMP Victims Assistance Program.
CARRIED Unanimously

f) Crime Prevention Program (Region Wide Service [includes WFN], except for Kelowna) (Stakeholders: West Kelowna, Peachland, Lake Country, Central Okanagan East and Central Okanagan West Electoral Areas - Weighted Vote)
Staff report dated January 4, 2016 outlined the 2015 service review for the Crime Prevention Program.
BAKER/DEJONG
THAT the Regional Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the Crime Prevention Program.
CARRIED Unanimously

g) False Alarm Reduction Program (Stakeholders: West Kelowna, Peachland, Lake Country, Central Okanagan East and Central Okanagan West Electoral Areas - Weighted Vote)
Staff report dated January 4, 2016 outlined the 2015 service review for the False Alarm Reduction Program. A new bylaw was adopted by the Regional Board in December 2015.
BAKER/FINDLATER
THAT the Regional Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the False Alarm Reduction Program.
CARRIED Unanimously

h) Crime Stoppers Program (All Directors - Weighted Vote)
Staff report dated January 4, 2016 outlined the 2015 service review for the Crime Stoppers Program.
BAKER/GRAY
THAT the Regional Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the Crime Stoppers Program.
CARRIED Unanimously

-------------------------------

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio January 14, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (415 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files January 14, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.1E RCMP Victim Assistance Program Service Review - .wma (249 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files January 14, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.1F Crime Prevention Service Review - .wma (197 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files January 14, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.1G False Alarm Reduction Program Service Review - .wma (164 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files January 14, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.1H Crime Stoppers Program Service Review - .wma (575 KB)

Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon November 12, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 7.4 Victim Services Program Service Review

.pdf icon Item 7.5 Crime Prevention Program Service Review

.pdf icon Item 7.6 False Alarm Reduction Program Service Review

.pdf icon Item 7.7 Crime Stoppers Program Service Review

*Note* Below is just a snippet, please click links above for entire content

Item 7.4 Victim Services Program Service Review
Purpose: To present a Service Review Report for the RCMP Victim Services Program and confirm if there are any additional issues the Board wishes to have addressed.

Executive Summary:
On January 16, 2014 the Board approved a Service Establishment Bylaw Review Schedule that has every service the Regional District provides reviewed every five (5) years. In 2015 the RCMP Victim Services Program is one of ten services that are subject to review. In preparing this Service Review Report staff reviewed the program's mandate, goals, and activities to confirm we are achieving the Board's objective of providing efficient, cost effective services.
The primary objective of this program is to emotional support and practical information to victims of all crime types including serious crime and murder, as well as traumatic non-criminal code
incidents such as sudden death, suicide, fatal motor vehicle accidents, and disasters. A change in management oversight has revealed several areas in need of improvement which are currently being addressed. The program changes identified in this report will change a good service into a great service.
This service review has been beneficial in identifying opportunities for improvement and concludes that this program has a solid framework to meet its current mandate and achieve its goals. In addition, a modest 0.25 FTE increase for the West Kelowna RCMP Detachment in 2016 would provide much needed services west of Okanagan Lake.
At this time staff would be pleased to answer any questions the Board may have regarding this report and ask the Board if it has any other issues they would like followed up on in this review.

RECOMMENDATION:
THAT the Governance and Services Committee recommend the Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the RCMP Victims Assistance Program.

Item 7.5 Crime Prevention Program Service Review
Purpose: To present a Service Review Report for the Crime Prevention Program and confirm if there are any additional issues the Board wishes to have addressed.

Executive Summary:
On January 16, 2014 the Board approved a Service Establishment Bylaw Review Schedule that has every service the Regional District provides reviewed every five (5) years. In 2015 the Crime Prevention Program is one of ten services that are subject to review. In preparing this Service Review Report staff reviewed the program's mandate, goals, and activities to confirm we are achieving the Board's objective of providing efficient, cost effective services.
The primary objective of this program is to provide crime prevention advice, support and leadership to our stakeholders, including Westbank First Nation to promote safer communities.
The Crime Prevention Coordinator organizes 85 active volunteers and administers the Citizen's on Patrol, Block Watch, Child ID, Subpoena, and Seniors Contact programs. We are a victim of our own success in that our resources are stretched to the limit so existing programs may suffer if a new initiative is deemed to be a priority.
This service review concludes that this program is meeting its current mandate and achieving its goals. At this time staff would be pleased to answer any questions the Board may have regarding this report and ask the Board if it has any other issues they would like followed up on in this review.

RECOMMENDATION:
THAT the Governance and Services Committee recommend the Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the Crime Prevention Program.

Item 7.6 False Alarm Reduction Program Service Review
Purpose: To present a Service Review Report for the False Alarm Reduction Program and confirm if there are any additional issues the Board wishes to have addressed.

Executive Summary:
On January 16, 2014 the Board approved a Service Establishment Bylaw Review Schedule that has every service the Regional District provides reviewed every five (5) years. In 2015 the False Alarm Reduction Program is one of ten services that are subject to review. In preparing this Service Review Report staff reviewed the program's mandate, goals, and activities to confirm we are achieving the Board's objective of providing efficient, cost effective services.
The primary objective of this program is to reduce problematic false alarm calls thereby allowing the RCMP to better serve and protect the public by reducing time and resources being spent responding to false alarms. Since 2009 we have seen a reduction of over 1,000 (= 20%) false alarms per year translating into considerable savings in time and effort for the RCMP.
This service review concludes that this program appears to be meeting its current mandate and achieving its goals. At this time staff would be pleased to answer any questions the Board may have regarding this report and ask the Board if it has any other issues they would like followed up on in this review.

RECOMMENDATION:
THAT the Governance and Services Committee recommend the Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the False Alarm Reduction Program.

Item 7.7 Crime Stoppers Program Service Review
Purpose: To present a Service Review Report for the Crime Stoppers Program and confirm if there are any additional issues the Board wishes to have addressed.

Executive Summary:
On January 16, 2014 the Board approved a Service Establishment Bylaw Review Schedule that has every service the Regional District provides reviewed every five (5) years. In 2015 the Crime Stoppers Program is one of ten services that are subject to review. In preparing this Service Review Report staff reviewed the program's mandate, goals, and activities to confirm we are achieving the Board's objective of providing efficient, cost effective services.
The primary objective of this program is to create a partnership of the public, police, media and the Regional District that provides a proactive program for people to assist the police anonymously to solve crimes and, thereby, creating safe communities. In 2014 the Kelowna Crime Stoppers Program received 1,298 tips leading to 76 arrests and recovered $431,000 in lost property and seized drugs valued over $750,000. Also, in 2015 this Regional Program won awards for Best Crime Stoppers Program in BC and Best Crime Stoppers Coordinator in BC.
This service review concludes that this program is meeting its current mandate and achieving its goals. At this time staff would be pleased to answer any questions the Board may have regarding this report and ask the Board if it has any other issues they would like followed up on in this review.

RECOMMENDATION:
THAT the Governance and Services Committee recommend the Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the Crime Stoppers Program.

-------------------------------

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio November 12, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (448 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files November 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 7.4 Victim Services Program Service Review - .wma (8.74 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files November 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 7.5 Crime Prevention Program Service Review - .wma (4.22 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files November 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 7.6 False Alarm Reduction Program Service Review - .wma (4.05 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files November 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 7.7 Crime Stoppers Program Service Review - .wma (2.56 MB)

.pdf icon November 12, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

7.4 Victim Services Program (Region-Wide Service)

Staff report dated November 3, 2015 outlined the region-wide Victim Services program. The primary objective of this program is to provide emotional support and practical information to victims of all crime types including serious crime and
murder, as well as traumatic non-criminal code incidents such as sudden death, suicide, fatal motor vehicle accidents, and disasters. There are three full-time equivalent (FTE) staffing in the service. It was noted a modest 0.25 FTE increase
for the West Kelowna RCMP Detachment in 2016 would provide much needed services west of Okanagan Lake.

It was further noted that the Province has recently completed a review of the provincial victim services program and West Kelowna has been highlighted as a potential funding area. At this time, it is unknown if further provincial funding would
be added to this program. Program staff are Regional District staff, not RCMP members.

The community based program (Elizabeth Fry Society) focuses on specific areas of support whereas the RCMP service supports all areas for victims.

As Vernon RCMP respond to calls in the north end of the North Westside Road area does the RDCO victim services staff support this area or does Vernon victim services staff?
Action: Staff to clarify with Director Carson where North Westside area residents receive their service from-Vernon or Kelowna.

OPHUS/BASRAN
THAT the Governance and Services Committee recommend the Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the RCMP Victims Assistance Program.

CARRIED Unanimously

===============

7.5 Crime Prevention Program (Region Wide Service [includes WFN], except for Kelowna)

Staff report dated November 3, 2015 outlined the Crime Prevention Program servicing all areas (except Kelowna who offers their own service). Westbank First Nation, under agreement with the RDCO, receives the service.
One coordinator oversees an expanding program. There are 85 volunteers involved in this program. The staff person is housed in the West Kelowna detachment building, with plans to have a satellite office at the KLO Office for this
staff member to spend time here increasing exposure of the service and raising the profile to the Electoral Area East residents which included a block watch program into the Joe Rich area. Existing capacity of staffing would not support too many increases in services in this program.

BAKER/FINDLATER
THAT the Governance and Services Committee recommend the Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the Crime Prevention Program.

CARRIED (Opposed: Carson)

================

7.6 False Alarm Reduction Program (Region Wide Service)

Staff report dated November 3, 2015 outlined the False Alarm Reduction program.

The primary objective of this program is to reduce problematic false alarm calls thereby allowing the RCMP to better serve and protect the public by reducing time and resources being spent responding to false alarms. Staff will be addressing
promotional opportunities for increased registration in the program as well as advertising the service to residents. A new bylaw will be brought forward for Board approval in the near future.

The question was raised regarding the number and a breakdown of calls received from Central Okanagan East and Central Okanagan West electoral areas.
Action: Staff to provide information to the electoral area directors.

BAKER/CARSON
THAT the Governance and Services Committee recommend the Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the False Alarm Reduction Program;
AND FURTHER THAT staff be directed to update the False Alarm Reduction Bylaw No. 1081.

CARRIED Unanimously

===============

7.7 Crime Stoppers Program (Region Wide Service)

Staff report dated November 3, 2015 outlined the region-wide Crime Stoppers program. The primary objective of this program is to create a partnership of the public, police, media and Regional District that provides a proactive program for
people to assist the police anonymously to solve crimes. This is a unique program with Regional District staff providing the program.

STACK/BASRAN
THAT the Governance and Services Committee recommend the Board continue to support the current service delivery model for the Crime Stoppers Program.

CARRIED Unanimously

-------------------------------

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio November 12, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (448 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files November 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 7.4 Victim Services Program Service Review - .wma (8.74 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files November 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 7.5 Crime Prevention Program Service Review - .wma (4.22 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files November 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 7.6 False Alarm Reduction Program Service Review - .wma (4.05 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files November 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 7.7 Crime Stoppers Program Service Review - .wma (2.56 MB)

Blue Divider Line

MN: Police oversight a must
by Frank Bucholtz - Surrey North Delta Leader - Jul 31, 2015

The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) is looking into the shooting death of 20-year-old Hudson Brooks outside the South Surrey district RCMP office on the morning of July 18.

It is the sixth investigation into an officer-involved shooting that the IIO has instituted since April 1. While police have said that Brooks was “suicidal,” he apparently was not armed. The shooting has provoked a wave of anger in South Surrey and many people say the shooting was an over-reaction by police.

The IIO has emphasized the importance of getting witness accounts of what happened on July 18 and particularly wants to hear from civilians. Anyone with information, or who witnessed the incident, is asked to contact the IIO’s toll-free witness line at 1-855-446-8477.

Officer-involved deaths are deeply troubling. This shooting took place just a few days before the lead RCMP officer in the October 2007 Taser death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver Airport, Benjamin “Monty” Robinson, was sentenced to two years less a day for lying to a public inquiry into Dziekanski’s death. Two other RCMP officers were exonerated, but Robinson, who has since resigned from the RCMP, joins Const. Kwesi Millington in facing jail time for their role in what has been deemed a cover-up.

The Dziekanski death at the hands of police, and the subsequent Braidwood Inquiry into police actions, played a key role in the establishment of the IIO. It has proven controversial.

The most recent practice prior to the IIO had been to have other forces investigate, with cases remaining “all in the (police) family.”

Some current and former police officers are also angry at the IIO over the laying of murder charges against Delta Police Const. Jordan MacWilliams, who was part of an emergency response team called to deal with a distraught man outside the Starlight Casino in New Westminster in November 2012. Mehrdad Bayrami was shot and killed, and following an IIO investigation, MacWilliams was later charged with murder.

After further investigation, the Criminal Justice Branch of the ministry of attorney-general announced earlier this month a stay of proceedings had been entered, saying evidence in the case “no longer satisfies its charge approval standard for the continued prosecution.”

This brings up the question as to why the charges went ahead in the first place. Some feel the IIO was looking for a scalp to hang from its belt to justify its existence.

However imperfect the IIO is, the public needs to have confidence in police at all times in order for our system of law and order to function properly.

The IIO was designed to show that an outside agency, which is not in any way beholden to police, can conduct an impartial investigation into deaths or serious injuries at the hands of police.

There have been too many questionable cases in recent times in B.C. to leave investigations of police-involved death or serious injury in the hands of police.

The fact that police (and the IIO) cannot lay charges in B.C. is another safeguard. That duty is performed by Crown counsel in this province. While some could argue that the Crown erred in allowing the MacWilliams charge to proceed at first, there’s something to be said for taking a second look at the evidence.

It’s far too early to tell what the IIO will come up with in the Brooks case. It will likely be months before any results are known. However, having the IIO investigate the matter is better than what used to take place.

Frank Bucholtz is the recently retired editor of The Langley Times. He writes weekly for The Leader. Reach him at frank.bucholtz "at" gmail.com

Source: http://www.surreyleader.com/opinion/320296241.html

Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon March 12, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 5.1 Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program Biodiversity Conservation Strategy Update
.pdf icon Item 5.2 Woodhaven Eco Cultural Centre Annual Report
.pdf icon Item 6.1 Okanagan Regional Library Population Numbers For Electoral Area Levy
.pdf icon Item 6.2 Technical Rescue Service Proposal District Of West Kelowna
.pdf icon Item 6.3 Draft 2015 Budget And 2015 2019 Financial Plan
.pdf icon Item 6.3A Budget Piechart And Budgets Summary
.pdf icon Item 6.3B Tax Requisitions And Rates
.pdf icon Item 6.3C Community Services Engineering
.pdf icon Item 6.3D Community Services Waste Management
.pdf icon Item 6.3E Community Services Planning
.pdf icon Item 6.3F Community Services Fire Protection
.pdf icon Item 6.3G Community Services Policing Services
.pdf icon Item 6.3H Community Services Inspections
.pdf icon Item 6.3I Parks Services
.pdf icon Item 6.3J Finance And Administration
.pdf icon Item 6.3K Corporate Services Administration
.pdf icon Item 6.3L Corporate Services Bylaw Enforcement
.pdf icon Item 6.3M Economic Development Commission
.pdf icon Item 6.3N Regional Board

.pdf icon Item 6.4 Quarterly Program Measures Report (no longer missing from RDCO's website)

*Note* below are only a snippets from the documents at the links above*

Item 6.4 Quarterly Program Measures Report

Policing Liaison Services
031 - 911 Emergency Number (page 124): Surplus of $538,552 is mainly attributable to net under expenditures in salaries with increased contract services resulting from the transition to EComm. The Service Review was completed in 2014 with the recommendation to contract PSAP services to EComm. The changeover was implemented with the transition date of November 18, 2014. The abandoned calls issue is going to be addressed through partnerships with other parties who are also discontinuing with PSAP services from the RCMP and contracting to EComm. In 2014, 182,940 9-1-1 calls were received. The reduction in calls is the direct result of the transition to contract services; no calls reported for Oct to Dec. 2014. Abandoned calls were 10% higher when comparing Jan. 1 to Sep. 30, 2014 to the same time frame of 2013. Staff vacancies went unfilled during the year with the anticipation of transitioning per the contract services model. RCMP invoiced $461,909 for backfilling vacancies up to the service transition date of Nov. 18 2014. Completion of the Standard operations Procedures Manual (SOP) has been delayed until the fire services are in agreement regarding the
Water Rescue Policy SOP
. The issue has been forwarded to the CAO for assistance in decision making.
The option to text to 9-1-1 is still to be developed and implemented in future years.

040 - Crime Stoppers (Page 126): Surplus of $25,825 resulted from under expenditure in salaries, vehicle operations, travel, and office supplies. Tips received in 2014 were comparable to 2013. Drug seizures are down significantly, which was likely due to early interpretation of the Medical Marihuana laws which are before the Supreme Court. The value of recovered stolen property rose significantly in 2014 with $425,150 in recoveries compared to $110,311 recovered in 2013. Forty rewards were approved by the Crime Stoppers Board for a total $7,250. Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers partnered
with the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Task Force (IMPACT) to develop a theft prevention program for stolen ATV's, Snowmobiles, Boats, and Trailers. They also partnered with FortisBC to deter the theft of energy from illegal grow ops. The program assisted with the identification of two prolific graffiti taggers resulting in arrest and charges. "Bag a Tagger" project is going forward as a joint project with the City of Kelowna. The 2014 Fund Raising Golf Tournament held September 12th at the Harvest Golf and Country Club raised $3,600. Crime Stoppers Website received 73,903 visits in 2014. An increase from 2013 when the website received 48,494 visits. Additional fundraising is being planned for 2015 to raise the anticipated $5,000 required to upgrade the Website to be more mobile friendly.

041 - Victims Services (Page 1281: Surplus of $11,179 resulted from lower than anticipated grant monies and under expenditures for training, salaries, and rent. New Clients were 87% adult with the remaining thirteen percent consisting of seniors, youth and children. Of the new clients 72% were female.
In 2014, new clients numbered 734 compared to 661 in 2013. The average number of ongoing clients increased from 180 in 2013 to 236 for 2014. The number of senior clients significantly increased. In 2014 there were 59 seniors introduced as new clients, compared to 35 seniors in 2013. 77% of Victim Services Clients are from RCMP referrals; 47% of Callouts are due to sudden deaths.
There were 101 callouts in 2014, 76 callouts in 2013, 86 callouts in 2012, and 101 callouts in 2011.
Victim Services Program funding was approved by the Ministry of Justice for 2014/2015. Victim Services had 2 volunteers during the year with a total of 322 hours of training and services donated to the program.

042 - Regional Crime Prevention (Page 132): Surplus of $27,626 resulted from under expenditures in graffiti eradication, vehicle operations, and various programs with increase Alarm Control Revenue.
Volunteer recruitment down by 7%. RDCO - WFN Local Services Agreement Amendment made to include Regional Crime Prevention services. The Bike Theft Prevention Program was launched in the second quarter and the Theft from Auto Crime Prevention campaign was also ongoing during the year. The Block Watch Crime Prevention Program has 23 participating neighbourhoods including new programs established in Lake Country and West Kelowna during 2014.

039 - Crime Prevention Sub-Program Alarm Control (Page 1341: In 2014, the number of False Alarms was 2,351. This is a 3.3% increase from 2013 when there were 2,273 false alarms. The total number of registered permits was 7,864 at December 31, 2014. There were 7,645 at December 31, 2013. Many new registrations and inquiries have resulted from the advertising campaigns run in the year. Staff met with alarm companies within the region to improve communication and discover ways to reduce false alarms. A Bylaw amendment, for removal of application form due to periodic needs to update, will be forthcoming to the board in 2015.

-------------------------------

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 12, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (37.3 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 5.1 Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program Biodiversity Conservation Strategy Update - .wma (7.11 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 5.2 Woodhaven Eco Cultural Centre Annual Report - .wma (9.97 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.1 Okanagan Regional Library Population Numbers For Electoral Area Levy - .wma (16.7 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.2 Technical Rescue Service Proposal District Of West Kelowna - .wma (8.52 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3 Draft 2015 Budget And 2015 2019 Financial Plan - .wma (17.4 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3A Budget Piechart And Budgets Summary - .wma ( MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3B Tax Requisitions And Rates - .wma ( MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3C Community Services Engineering - .wma ( MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3D Community Services Waste Management - .wma ( MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3E Community Services Planning - .wma ( MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3F Community Services Fire Protection - .wma ( MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3G Community Services Policing Services - .wma ( MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3H Community Services Inspections - .wma ( MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3I Parks Services - .wma ( MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3J Finance And Administration - .wma ( MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3K Corporate Services Administration - .wma ( MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3L Corporate Services Bylaw Enforcement - .wma ( MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3M Economic Development Commission - .wma ( MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.3N Regional Board - .wma ( MB)

It is too hard to find each section of the missing links above so not going to break down the audio into sections for this meeting.  All the audio of this meeting are in the links above and below.

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.4 Quarterly Program Measures Report being added to the agenda - .wma (279 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files March 12, 2015 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.4 Quarterly Program Measures Report - .wma (208 KB)

.pdf icon March 12, 2015 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

*Note* Below is just a snippet, please click link above for entire content

6.4 Quarterly Measures Report - Year-Ended December 31, 2014

Staff report dated March 6, 2015 reported on the summary of 2014 activities for each individual service as set out in the 2014-2018 Financial Plan. The highlights for the year are not inclusive-there are too many items to be covered for each
service. Multi-year comparative statistics by service/program are available in the full report.

OPHUS/HANSON
THAT the Year End December 31,2014 Quarterly Program Measures report be received for information.

CARRIED Unanimously

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 12, 2015 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (37.3 MB)

Blue Divider Line

New police office opens
Castanet.net - by Bill Everitt | Story: 123712 - Sep 27, 2014

Kelowna RCMP have expanded their area of service in the Mission with the opening of the new KLO


Photo: Contributed
community policing office.


The new office replaces the decommissioned Mission community policing office.

The Kelowna RCMP has operated a Community Policing Office in the Mission since 1996 when the first office was opened as an 800-square-foot addition to the fire hall on DeHart Road.

In 2001 the Mission CPO was relocated to Lakeshore Road for additional work space along with a large meeting room which was used extensively for training.

Due to the age of the building it was deemed too costly to renovate and maintain to meet RCMP security standards, so a new location was acquired before the old building was decommissioned last December.

Through a lease agreement between the City of Kelowna, the Regional District of the Central Okanagan and the RCMP, the new office has been opened at 100-1450 KLO Road. This new location brings access to policing services to the broader communities of Mission, Crawford Estates and East Kelowna.

The new office provides for even more work space and will be staffed by both municipal employees and RCMP officers in addition to being a base of operations for over 50 RCMP volunteers and various crime prevention programs.

Services similar to those available at all Kelowna Regional RCMP Detachment offices can be obtained at the new KLO Community Policing Office but criminal record checks can only be processed at the main Kelowna Detachment, located at 350 Doyle Avenue, or in West Kelowna.

KLO Community Policing Office hours of operation will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday to Friday, excluding holidays. Non-emergency services can be obtained by attending 100-1450 KLO Road or calling the office at 250-470-0600.

9-1-1 should be used in case of emergencies where an immediate response is required.

Blue Divider Line

Report: Kelowna Police Staffing Below Expected Levels
Kelowna Now - Local News - September 22, 2014 - by Stacy Penner

Kelowna has one of the most 'efficiently' staffed police forces in Canada.

Between 2001 and 2012, police officers per 100,000 Canadians rose 8.7 per cent but crime rate declined by 26.3 per cent. According to a study by the Fraser Institute, these years also saw growing expenditures and a decline in criminal code incidents per officers. The study says that real per capita police expenditures rose 45.5 per cent from 1986 and 2012 while actual incidents per officer declined by 36.8 per cent.

The study does acknowledge that overall public spending is increasing in Canada due to a more complex society, and that police officers now deal with a wider range of problem social behaviours other than just crime.



(Photo Credit: Fraser Institute)

The author of the study, Livio Di Matteo, looked at police levels in cities from 2011 and earlier compared to the city's population and predicted the amount of officers per 100,000 people that the area would have in 2012.

The three cities in Canada with police numbers most substantially below the study predicted they could have were Kelowna, British Columbia; Moncton, New Brunswick; and Ottawa-Gatineau, Ontario-Quebec.

While the study predicted that Kelowna would have 149 police officers per 100,000 people, they actually only had 112 in 2012. The study therefore called Kelowna one of three cities in Canada with the most efficient staffing levels.

"As municipalities across the country struggle with limited resources, more analysis should focus on the nature and volume of police calls, the arbitration process involving police unions, policing technology and styles, and other factors that determine police staffing levels,” says Di Matteo.



(Photo Credit: Fraser Institute)

Indeed, Kelowna is working to address these factors. Police staffing levels in Kelowna have been an issue for several years, but Constable Kris Clark pointed out that actions have been taken to increase these numbers. A report in 2012 addressed many of the factors above, and an ongoing four-year agreement with the City of Kelowna outlines a crime reduction strategy for the Kelowna RCMP that includes 22 members to be added by 2015.

Part of this agreement requires frequent reporting by the RCMP on crime levels and efficiency that justifies their member statistic analysis. In the last year, the RCMP has had to release crime statistics to the media every two weeks, and the City of Kelowna has a web page that reports on the crime prevention campaign.

City of Kelowna invests 24 per cent of tax dollars in Police Services and “fostering a good reporting relationship with the RCMP.”

According the Fraser Institute study, the cities with the least efficient staffing levels were Saint John, New Brunswick; Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Windsor, Ontario. Victoria was also in the bottom 10.

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.pdf icon September 11, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 6.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report

*Note* This is only a snippet, please click link above for entire content

Policing Liaison Services

031 - 911 Emergency Number
Effective November 18, 2014, the initial 911 call answering service will transition from the Kelowna based RCMP Operational Communications Centre to E-Comm, a service provider located in Vancouver.
After extensive review and negotiations, a five year agreement was signed by the Regional Districts that continues with public safety as the top priority and projects a 25% reduction in overall program costs.
Staff continues to collect information from Telus, information on the abandoned calls issues and assists with numerous requests from E-Comm for the transition of the service.

040 - Crime Stoppers
Although Tips are higher when compared to June 30, 2013, $398,000 in illegal drugs seized and $27,000 in property value recovered to June 30, 2014, is significantly lower than the over $3.8-million seized and $71,260 recovered to June 30, 2013. The Program continues to receive tips on illegal grow operations but due to a recent court challenge no prosecutions are able to be done; therefore, searches are not being conducted and seizures are not being made. Crime Stoppers continues to provide Police with information on problem houses where there is suspected trafficking of drugs such as heroin, crack cocaine and crystal meth. These residences are also suspected of trafficking in stolen property.
Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers has partnered with the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Task Force (IMPACT) and developed a program to help prevent the theft and the recovery of stolen ATV's, Snowmobile, Boats and Trailers. The recovery of two snow machines and a stolen trailer can be attributed to this new program. The Board has also endorsed participation with the FortisBC - Theft of Energy Crime Prevention Initiative. The Program will receive anonymous tips regarding the theft of electricity and natural gas, forwarding the information to the utility for investigation.
The Program has been successful in identification of two prolific graffiti taggers who have since been arrested and are facing charges. One tagger was responsible for approximately $250,000 in damage to various properties and businesses in the District.
A number of tips were received on the Ausman and Aimee Parkes homicides that were forwarded to the investigators. The Crime Stoppers Program is a part of the Kelowna Detachment Crime Reduction Team and works closely with the Crime Analyst by sharing information on prolific offenders and identifying problem crime areas.

To June 30, 2014, Crime Stoppers Website received 40,425 visits and You Tube views numbered 3,386. Twitter and Facebook are used to promote the program and a new initiative is underway to feature unsolved crimes, cold cases, and missing persons files in a Crime Watch Magazine to be distributed throughout the Central Okanagan. Sponsorship is being solicited for this initiative. The 2014 Fund Raising Golf Tournament is scheduled to be held September 14th at the Harvest Golf Club.

041 - Victims Services
New clients were 85% adult with the remaining fifteen percent consisting of seniors, youth and children.
Of the new clients, 73% were female. To June 30,2014, new clients numbered 371 compared to 313 new clients to June 30, 2013. 76% of Victim Services Clients are from RCMP referrals.
Victim Services funding application with the Ministry of Justice was approved for the period April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 in the amount of $80,190. Per the Ministry of Justice, Victim Services contract, protocols between the police based victim services and the community based victim services program were signed in January 2014. The protocols to formalize the referral process between the police based and community based victim services programs were delayed due to staff from the community based program not engaging in the process by the July 2013 due date. The 2014 - 2015 contract year protocols to be reviewed. Department of Justice Canada grant of $7,200 was approved for the Program to host an awareness event, "Hidden Facets of Victim Issues and Worker Care" during national Victims of Crime Week, April 6 - 12, 2014. A second grant in the amount of $1,508.07 was received to assist with staffing costs.

042 - Regional Crime Prevention
An assessment of resource requirements was completed for the provision of Crime Prevention Services to residents on Westbank First Nation lands. Draft letter agreement and proposed RDCO - WFN Local Services Agreement amendment was secured at June 30, 2014.
Successful Business Coupon Campaign for the Respect Program with coupons turned over to School Resource office and Westbank First Nation to assist with youth related programs. Research is complete for the Business Watch Program; implementation has been delayed due to the availability of RCMP resources. A Theft From Auto Education and Awareness campaign was held in March in Peachland, West Kelowna and Lake Country. Theft From Auto Crime Prevention campaign was held in June. Block Watch Crime Prevention Program has 21 participating neighbourhoods at June 30, 2014, including a recently added neighbourhood in Lake Country. The Bike Theft Prevention Program was launched during the second quarter.

039 - Crime Prevention Sub-Program Alarm Control
The term position for the alarm program has ended and full time Alarm Coordinator has returned from a Leave of Absence. Due to the numerous staff changes since 2011 the Program is focusing on overall consistency in program operations and service delivery.
To June 30, 2014, the number of False Alarms was 1,213. To June 30, 2013, False Alarms numbered 1,123. The number of new permits issued at June 30, 2014 was 529, a 24% increase over the 400 issued at June 30, 2013. The Program ran an advertising campaign in June 2014 to promote the false alarm program to residents. The Alarm Coordinator worked with the RCMP and the security company for a property acknowledged as having an excessive number of false alarms to develop an
action plan to reduce the number of false alarms.

====================

Corporate Services:

002 - Administration
Strategic Community Investment Funds of $79,415 were received. SCIF funds continue to minimize tax rate increases by supporting and offsetting general corporate services administrative costs, and administrative projects which have included Strategic Planning, ortho photo updates, service reviews, service agreement reviews, energy efficiencies, building improvements and working toward meeting economic and climate change targets.
Fringe Area Planning, Ellison Transit Service and Parks Service reviews are underway. Air Quality review will also be completed as part of the implementation of a regular service review 5 year cycle.
RESOC continues to review the Regional Rescue Service. Final approval of Amendments to Westbank First Nation (WFN) Agreements for inclusion in Crime Prevention, Economic Development Commission and Air Quality Program services are under consideration by WFN. RCMP Community Policing Office leased space in Administrative offices main floor effective spring 2014. Reporting to the Director of Community Services, the Fleet and Facilities Manager position was filled effective
September 8, 2014.

 

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 11, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (11.1 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 11, 2014 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report - .wma (3.44 MB)

.pdf icon September 11, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

Minutes of RDCO's Governance and Services Committee are not published to RDCO's website until after being adopted at the following meeting which would be October 9, 2014.  If the minutes are not published here yet, you can check RDCO's website to see if they are published there yet.  If you wish to have a copy of the minutes before this date, you can request a copy from RDCO who will have the document ready at their office to pick up within 7 days.

-------------------------------

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 11, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting - .mp3 (11.1 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 11, 2014 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about Item 6.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report - .wma (3.44 MB)

Blue Divider Line

RCMP slammed
Castanet.net - by Contributed | Story: 120541 - Aug 6, 2014

Yesterday my husband and I noticed a whole bunch of police vehicles gathering down our street.  We live on a dead end road in East Kelowna.

So of course we were curious and stood and watched they were quite a bit down the street so I grabbed a pair of binoculars. They started to walk to the end on the road past our house. A police woman came over and ordered us to go into our house.

We were thinking it was very serious for this to happen and we did as ordered. Later I find out that at the trailer park at least 400 metres from the outer edge to our house had a distraught woman threatening to harm herself.

We were in no danger. There was no reason except arrogance from the police to order us on our own property to go inside our house. The other neighbours were not told to go in, they just got pissy because I had binoculars and looked at them.

These are the arrogant bullies who give the police dept. a bad name, shame on you!

Cathy S.

It has happened to us a couple times too, for no reason at all but that the RCMP members didn't want to be analysed.

This just gives us more reason to want to analyse the RCMP, and take out our video cameras.

Blue Divider Line

Is there enough mental health support for first responders?
Global News - July 17, 2014 - By Carmen Chai

TORONTO – As a paramedic responding to emergency calls, Jim Harris says he often saw people going through the “worst day of their life.”

The former frontline paramedic was on the job for two decades. First responders – police, paramedics, firefighters – come across violence, substance abuse, and severe health emergencies on a day-to-day basis.

“You have to go into situations that often times are some of the worst days of the individuals we’re treating. [First responders] are asked to do this daily, it can’t help but affect you over time,” Harris, now a manager of paramedic training programs at Lakeridge Health, told Global News.

In the past 10 weeks, 13 Canadian first responders reportedly killed themselves, according to Tema Conter Memorial Trust, an organization that promotes mental health awareness among Canada’s emergency workers.

Those who took their lives were a mix of police officers, paramedics and federal corrections officers.

Now, former frontline emergency responders and the organizations they represent say they aren’t surprised by these reports on the recent string of deaths.

They say that training in recognizing mental health issues is bare bones, and the resources aren’t sufficient.

Mental health support for first responders varies depending on where you live, according to Dwayne Forsman, who represents the Paramedic Association of Canada.

Toronto Emergency Medical Services – the largest EMS service in the country – is the only service that provides its frontline workers with a dedicated staff psychologist, for example.

Other health authorities filter their first responders in need to the regional mental health professionals, but they may not understand the intricacies involved with their line of work, Forsman said.

“You might go to a psychologist who really doesn’t understand what it is that you do. In our view, there needs to be dedicated staff – not simply on retainer – but attached to the service, who appreciates what goes on and is talking to people whether they need the help or not,” Forsman said.

He’s a former Winnipeg paramedic with over 37 years of experience in the field. During his training on the job, educators quickly skimmed over mental health issues that may come up. Pamphlets, business cards and counselling information was doled out. It wasn’t revisited again throughout Forsman’s tenure.

“It becomes one big glob of information, so these things tend to get lost in the conversation as you’re wide-eyed trying to take it all in. Then the expectation is that you just know where to go if something happens,” he said.

Even if education on mental health and coping mechanisms were built into the training curriculum, the experts wonder if new frontline workers would be interested in the information.

There are also EAPs (employee assistance programs), debrief teams and peer support groups, according to Harris.

With EAPs, employers enlist the help of a third party service so first responders can speak to counsellors anonymously about issues they may be dealing with. It doesn’t have to be about mental health either – staff can call about financial woes, marital issues or discuss a trauma they encountered that day.

With debrief teams, colleagues from various sectors are deployed to speak to you following an extreme incident.

That’s Harris’ concern – while there’s emphasis on care following a major shooting, a colleague’s death or injury or large emergency events, the daily buildup of stress is overlooked.

“There’s very little in place in most organizations to provide support or even acknowledge the cumulative stress issues. It’s that stress that’s affecting more people,” Harris said.

Dr. Jeff Morley, a registered psychologist and Tema mental health officer, says that in his practice, he typically comes across three issues first responders present with.

Some patients deal with primary trauma – when they’ve been physically assaulted or threatened, secondary trauma – when they’ve had to deal with unfixable trauma, and organizational stressors, which has to do with workplace harassment, bullying or feelings of betrayal.

Depression is the most common diagnosis for first responders, according to Morley. Addiction issues and sleep disorders follow.

Morley is a veteran RCMP officer with 23 years in the field in B.C. before he became a psychologist. Being acquainted with both worlds offers him a leg up when he’s treating patients.

“First responders are a very mistrusting group, and they’re hyper vigilant so they need to find a psychologist they can trust and know the culture,” he said.

What’s critical is resources that are delivered in a timely manner, he suggests.

Emotional responses are doled out in the moment, Morley explained. When your son scores a goal at the soccer game, you cheer. When your grandmother passes away, you cry. But first responders on the job at the most grisly scenes have to keep their composure.

“They have to go into work mode, which is fine, but to keep these folks healthy, you have to get that emotion out as soon as they leave that scene,” Morley suggested.

Instead, they’re whisked off to respond to the next call, and the trauma they encountered isn’t fully processed and addressed.

In Morley’s case, psychologists were readily available but his superiors knew who was going for treatment. He said that employees feared the stigma, wondered if their jobs were in jeopardy or if they’d have to take time off.

Toronto EMS says that it has “open conversations” with employees about their mental and physical health. It also provides support based on the latest, best practices, including access to a full-time psychologist, a service physician, peer support teams on call 24/7 and debrief teams.

“Toronto EMS takes a proactive, and therefore preventive approach, to health and wellness in all areas of our service, including the maintenance of mental health,” its superintendent of public information said in an email.

Durham Region police did not yet respond to comment.

There may be room for improvement, but the experts are certain first responders’ employers are on the right track.

When Harris began his career as a paramedic 30 years ago, there were expectations of being stoic.

“Nothing bothers you and we don’t talk about things, we make jokes about them and that’s how we deal with it. Many paramedics struggled throughout their career with issues because of stress buildup,” he told Global News.

Now, with mental health thrust into the forefront, it’s an issue organizations are forced to address. He suggests a cultural shift needs to happen in the profession, the same way mental health stigma needs to be shed in other parts of society.

carmen.chai "at" globalnews.ca

Blue Divider Line

Police dog bites top injury list in B.C.: report
BC Local News - Jun 26, 2014 - By Tamsyn Burgmann, The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - Vancouver police dubbed their department's new puppies as the "cutest crime fighters" even before launching a dog-naming contest for schoolchildren. Wayne Gretzky once posed with the Edmonton force's canine unit on a Christmas card.

But the common strategy for connecting with the community is hardly warm and cuddly for a Vancouver legal advocacy group that issued a report concluding dogs are the leading cause of injury at the hands of police forces across British Columbia.

"Promotion, propaganda, whatever you want to call it," said Douglas King, a lawyer with the society. "They're using the animal side of the dog and the affectionate side of the dog to cover what they really are, which is tools that have the capacity to be deadly weapons."

Pivot's three-year study released Thursday examined the use of dog squads among municipal forces and the RCMP.

It said B.C. is alone in Canada when it comes to lacking regulations around the deployment of police dogs to help apprehend a suspect.

The group tallied data from the RCMP and the Office of the Police Complaints Commission, finding that at least 490 people were bitten and injured by police dogs between 2010 and 2012. It also said the harm inflicted during a takedown charted highest in Vancouver, followed by Abbotsford, and was lowest in Saanich and New Westminster.

Police departments with the lowest prevalence of bites appear to provide higher levels of training, said King, the report's lead author. Some protocol suggests that dog handlers should call out a warning before releasing an animal, he said, but instead the report found there are no policies stipulating when a dog should be used.

The report, which includes interviews with victims, said dogs have sometimes been used even in cases of very minor crimes that may not involve any charges.

In B.C., the majority of forces train police service dogs with a method called bite-and-hold, as opposed to the other leading technique that simply sees the dog circle and bark, the report said.

"Our long-term goal here is to get to a place where all the departments are like the best departments, that best practices are being used across the province," King said.

The report recommended standardizing record-keeping that tracks details of dog use and putting restrictions on how the dogs are deployed.

Andy Rowe, 51, was a drug addict in March 2007 when he was attacked by a police dog in a Langley, B.C., parking lot after he stole a DVD from a store.

"It was like a movie. A wild animal attacking you, ripping your face off, biting your ear off, puncturing your skull and hearing Velcro tear — and it's actually your flesh that's tearing," the Surrey resident said.

"The dog was deployed as a weapon."

The provincial government struck a working group last year to survey police dog regulations, but has not released information on its status.

A request for an interview resulted in a short statement from Justice Minister Suzanne Anton.

"Police dogs are an important, effective policing tool but like any tool, they must be used consistently and effectively," Anton said, adding the province is in talks to finalize provincial standards with a focus on "appropriate deployment."

RCMP spokesman Sgt. Rob Vermeulen said the force will continue to participate in the provincial review while also "continuously researching best practices." He said the RCMP already reports all uses of force.

Owen Court, spokesman for the Independent Investigations Office, which investigates police-involved deaths and injuries, said the office takes on dog-bite cases only when they meet the severity threshold.

"It's been our experience that police agencies err on the side of caution and over-report cases to us," he said.

Vancouver Police declined to be interviewed, but a spokesman said the department was aware of Pivot's concerns and noted the group filed a policy complaint on police dogs in 2011.

The group's current report states the Vancouver dog bite rate is 14.75 bites per 100,000 people, or 22 per cent more bites than all other regions combined in B.C.

Minutes from a January 2012 meeting of the Vancouver Police Board show the policy review committee concluded that there was "rigorous accountability in place" and that no changes were required.

Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon May 26, 2014 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

There was nothing mentioned in the Highlights about Item 5.1 Independent Investigations Office Of BC

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio May 26, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (22.2 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files May 26, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Independent Investigations Office Of BC - .wma (17.8 MB) This delegate explains how the RCMP and civilians investigate serious incidents like death, very interesting.

.pdf icon May 26, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 5.1 Independent Investigations Office Of BC (RCMP)

*Note* This is only a snippet, please click link above for entire content

The creation of the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) profoundly changes the way police in British Columbia are investigated as it is mandated to conduct investigations into police-related incidents of death or serious harm in order to determine whether or not an officer may have committed an offence. Incidents of serious harm include injury that may result in death, may cause serious disfigurement or may cause substantial loss or impairment of mobility of the body as a whole or of the function of any limb or organ.

The IIO's jurisdiction extends to, municipal constables and members of the RCMP in BC, the Stl'atl'imx Tribal Police and BC Transit police, both on and off duty and Special Provincial Constables.

The IIO believes that the best way to inform communities about our work is to meet them.

To achieve this goal, the IIO has developed a Community Engagement strategy that extends through 2015. This strategy commits IIO staff to attending community meetings across the province to ensuring that communities are well informed of our mandate, operations and investigative structure and to answer any questions that those attending may wish to ask.

The Chief Civilian Director Richard Rosenthal of the IIO will be presenting.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio May 26, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (22.2 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files May 26, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Independent Investigations Office Of BC - .wma (17.8 MB) This delegate explains how the RCMP and civilians investigate serious incidents like death, very interesting.

.pdf icon May 26, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

5. DELEGATION

5.1 Richard Rosenthal, Chief Civilian Director - Independent Investigations Office of BC re: Update on the Investigations Office
The presentation was moved to the end of the agenda.

===============

5.1 Richard Rosenthal, Chief Civilian Director - Independent Investigations Office of BC re: Update on the Investigations Office

Richard Rosenthal provided a review of the creation of the Independent Investigations Office (110) which is mandated to conduct investigations into police-related incidents of death or serious harm in order to determine whether or not an officer may have committed an offense. The 110 is attending communities across the province to ensure the communities are well informed of the mandate, operations and investigative structure.

Mr. Rosenthal noted:
• His office is trying to get out and educate 'before something happens'. Want to ensure the public understands there is an organization which handles these events (on and off duty incidents).
• Investigations would occur when a police act results in death or an injury that may result in death, mobility impairment. Investigations do not occur due to a complaint against the police, it must be a critical incident.
• Criminal code standards are used. Decisions are independent of government. Investigative reports are forwarded to Crown counsel who decides on next steps.
• The office is there to ensure accountability and transparency.
• The Director is appointed to a five year term with the possibility for one reappointment (10 year maximum). The Director cannot have served as a police officer.

ZIMMERMANN/OPHUS
THAT the Regional Board receive for information the update on the BC Investigations Office by Richard Rosenthal, Chief Civilian Director - Independent Investigations Office of BC.

CARRIED Unanimously

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio May 26, 2014 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (22.2 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files May 26, 2014 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Independent Investigations Office Of BC - .wma (17.8 MB) This delegate explains how the RCMP and civilians investigate serious incidents like death, very interesting.

Blue Divider Line

Raising Awareness of Those Impacted by Crime

Some forgotten groups are having the spotlight turned on them during an event to mark National Victims of Crime Awareness week.

With funding provided by the Department of Justice Canada, the Central Okanagan RCMP Victim Services program is hosting a series of awareness sessions on April 9th and 10th at the Best Western Hotel, 2402 Harvey Avenue.

The manager of Police Services for the Regional District says the theme of the event is ‘Hidden Facets of Victim Issues and Worker Care’. Cary Berger says the topics presented during the four sessions raise awareness of those people impacted who are often overlooked as victims of crime and for individuals who are caring for those who have been victimized.

One awareness session, will provide information on unresolved trauma and grief. Those registered will have the opportunity to hone their personal ability to care for people who been victimized through unexpected loss.

“Two of the sessions” she says “will focus on male victimization including male victims of domestic family violence and male survivors of sexual abuse. This is a topic that is often hidden and misunderstood and deserves much more public attention.” Don Wright from the B.C. Society for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse will provide training for both of these sessions. Mr. Wright maybe reached at 604-682-6482 for further information.

She adds, “The fourth awareness session will focus on the needs of worker care. Support workers may encounter issues with unresolved trauma or grief and can suffer effects from vicarious trauma. It’s important that service providers and co-workers are aware of what is taking place around them and to explore areas in mitigating these effects.

There has been an overwhelming response to the sessions and they are now full; however, media is invited to attend. Information on the dates and times of the training sessions along with a registration form can be found on the RDCO website, Victim Services page.

(April 3, 2014)

Source:  RDCO What's New

Blue Divider Line

Police Personnel and Expenditures

There were 8,856 police officers in British Columbia as of May 15, 2013, a rate of 193 per 100,000 population. Most (6,218) of them were members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The remaining 2,638 worked for municipal police services. Total expenditures on policing in the province were $1.5 billion.

Nationwide, there were 69,272 police officers in Canada, or 197 police officers per 100,000 population in 2012. Manitoba (213) and Saskatchewan (208) were the provinces with the largest police presence, while Nova Scotia (160) had the lowest ratio.

Among metropolitan areas, Thunder Bay (189), Winnipeg (189) and Regina (185) had the largest number of officers per 100,000 population. Victoria (153), Vancouver (148) and Abbotsford-Mission (144) had lower rates. Data Source: SC, Catalogue85-002-X

There were 14,004 female police officers in Canada in 2013, making up 20% of the total police force. This compares with 16% a decade earlier and just 8% in 1993. British Columbia (22%) and Quebec (24%) were the provinces with the highest proportion of female police officers. Data Source: SC, Catalogue 85-002-X

Compared to 14 other “peer” countries, Canada has a relatively low police strength. Finland (152 police officers per 100,000 population in 2011) and Norway (158) have consistently had the lowest police strength among these nations. Canada (202) was ranked fourth lowest in 2011, ahead of Denmark (195). The US (223) also had a relatively low rate compared to other countries. Italy (458), Austria (328) and Ireland (307) were the peer countries with the largest number of police officers relative to the population. Data Source: SC, Catalogue 85-002-X


Source:  BC Stats

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.pdf icon January 27, 2014 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Crime Stoppers Theft of Energy Initiative

The Regional Board has endorsed a new one year program with the Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers Society for the Fortis BC - Theft of Energy Crime Prevention Initiative. As a part of the program, Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers will receive anonymous tips regarding the theft of electricity and natural gas from other Crime Stoppers programs in the Fortis service area, forwarding the information to the utility for investigation. Once complete, the result of the investigation will be forwarded from Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers to the originating Crime Stoppers program.

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.pdf icon January 27, 2014 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

8. POLICE SERVICES

8.1 Proposed 2014 Operational Agreement with Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers (All Directors - Unweighted Vote)

Staff report dated January 27, 2014 outlined that the Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers program has been approached by BC Crime Stoppers Society to be the single-point of contact for the transfer of information to Fortis BC on behalf of the Society. The transfer of information will involve theft of electric energy and natural gas. The program would receive $2,000 in funding to assist in offsetting operational costs. The impact to the program is expected to be minimal and after one year staff will conduct a review of the initiative and any impact.

FIELDING/OPHUS
I THAT the Board support the Theft of Energy Crime Prevention Initiative with Fortis BC, BC Crime Stoppers Society, and the Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers Society;
AND FURTHER THAT the Regional District enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers Society in support of the Fortis Theft of Energy Crime Prevention Initiative for a one-year term.

CARRIED Unanimously

=====================

Chair Hobson noted that Bruce Smith received an award from Crime Stoppers for his continuing service as the voice for their Mug Shot program--the voice that fugitives fear! Congratulations Bruce.

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New Surrey RCMP office building could impact local taxes
By Wade Paterson - Kelowna Capital News - October 24, 2013

West Kelowna council learned Tuesday it, along with other municipalities throughout the province, will likely be paying thousands of additional dollars for costs associated with the nearly billion-dollar, 819,807-square-foot "Green Timbers" RCMP E Division headquarters that opened earlier this year in Surrey.

Brad Lanthier, manager of contract policing with E Division's Finance - Corporate Management Branch, gave council a customized 2012/13 review and spoke about potential upcoming costs.

Admitting the contingent cost of $1,200 per member was "by far the least popular part" of his presentation, Lanthier explained the price tag is an accommodation charge for administrative members occupying space at Green Timbers.

According to a news release issued by the Union of B.C. Municipalities earlier this year, the province is in the process of negotiating the cost of Green Timbers with the federal government. In the 2013/14 RCMP Financial Plan projections, there is an estimated budget allowance of $1,200 per regular member that has been built in; however, that number could change depending on negotiations.

With 23 regular members in West Kelowna's force, that estimate would mean the district would be charged $27,600.

According to Tom Wilson, communications supervisor for the City of Kelowna, Kelowna currently has 177 RCMP regular member positions. At $1,200 per member, the cost associated with Green Timbers could be approximately $212,400 for the city.

The UBCM release also noted, except for the location, the province was not consulted in the decision to build Green Timbers.

"Our taxpayers need to understand $1,200 per member for an office building in Surrey is what our expected annual costs (could) be. Maybe it will be less, maybe it will be more," said West Kelowna Coun. Duane Ophus.

Lanthier noted there is a good chance the actual cost will be lower.

"I really have to stress that the $1,200 is a contingent amount. I'm not privy to the discussions, so I don't want to say whether it will be less, but I would say that $1,200 is on the high side of an estimate," said Lanthier.

West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater thanked Lanthier for the presentation and said, overall, the community is satisfied with the efforts of local Mounties.

"This community is very happy with the RCMP service we get," said Findlater.

wpaterson "at" kelownacapnews.com

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.pdf icon September 12, 2013 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

This was a Director Item so nothing is mentioned in the Agenda about West Kelowna-federal funding of police officer recruitment fund, prisoner cost recovery

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.pdf icon September 12, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon This was a Director Item so nothing is mentioned in the Agenda about West Kelowna-federal funding of police officer recruitment fund, prisoner cost recovery

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.pdf icon September 12, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

9. DIRECTOR ITEMS

It was noted that various directors will be attending the Union of BC Municipalities Convention next week in Vancouver. The Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition will be hosting a discussion on the rural BC project. Various resolutions have been put forward by member municipalities: Kelowna-noise bylaw resolution; West Kelowna-federal funding of police officer recruitment fund, prisoner cost recovery, and extension of municipal grow op bylaw provisions to regional districts.

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.pdf icon August 26, 2013 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

There was nothing mentioned in the Highlights about Item 6.1 Strategic Community Investment Fund Grant Receipt

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.pdf icon August 26, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 6.1 Strategic Community Investment Fund Grant Receipt

*Note* Below is only a snippet, please click link above for entire content

The June 2013 payment installment will total $53.5 million, consisting of $28.4 million for the Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing Program to help municipalities enhance policing and community based public safety programs, and $25.1 million for Small Community and Regional District Grants supporting local governments to provide services in areas with smaller tax bases.

For your Regional District, this means $56,790 was transferred to your account on or before June 28,2013.

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.pdf icon August 26, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

6. CORRESPONDENCE
6.1 Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development re: Receipt of Strategic Community Investment Fund (Regional District Grant-$56,790) for information only (All Directors - Unweighted Vote)
Staff noted the funds go into the administration budget to offset administration overhead recovery and upgrades to the building. In March 2013, $22,625 was received-the total received in 2013 is $79,415.

BAKER/GRAY
THAT the correspondence from the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development confirming approval of the Strategic Community Investment Fund (Regional District rant of $56,790 be received for information.
CARRIED

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Speeders helping to pay for Central Okanagan policing
By Alistair Waters - Kelowna Capital News - July 05, 2012

Speeding drivers are helping fatten the coffers of local municipalities.

The province has announced its latest grants for Kelowna, Lake Country and West Kelowna from the Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing program.

While the municipalities already knew how much they would be getting for this year, 2013 and 2014 thanks to a change is the funding program by Victoria last year, the latest instalments include $1.2 million for Kelowna, which will get a total of $1.9 million this year, $359,737 (including $285,596 from the province's Small Community and Regional District Grant program) for Lake Country, for a total of $596 million from both programs this year, and $68,732 for West Kelowna, part of a total for 2012 of $265,000.

The annual totals includes partial prepayment amounts coming for in 2013, said Lake Country chief financial officer Stephen Banmen.

He said while the change to the three-year guaranteed amount does not make a difference budget wise, it does give the municipalities "certainty" when it come to financial planning.

"It mean's there is no guessing," he said.

Unlike Kelowna and West Kelowna, Lake Country uses the money from the traffic fine revenue grants to help pay the total cost of policing in the municpality. If the amount was to drop, a tax increase would be needed to make up the difference if the municipality wanted to maintain the same level of service.

Both Kelowna and West Kelowna use the traffic fine revenue grant money to pay for specified aspects of policing, such as crime prevention in Kelowna and the cost of an RCMP liaison officer and auxiliary officers to conduct traffic enforcement in West Kelowna.

In B.C., municipalities with more than 5,000 residents pay 90 per cent of policing costs, with the province picking up the other 10 per cent. As a result, policing is often one of the biggest single costs in their budgets.

In addition the money for the municipalities, the Central Okanagan Regional District will receive $102,040 from the province's Strategic Community Investment Fund, which allows communities to invest in their own priority projects.

The Small Community and Regional District Grants assist local governments in providing basic services,while the traffic fine revenues help municipalities pay for police enforcement costs.

The grants come from ticket fines and court-imposed fines on violation tickets, and the amount of money a municipality receives is based on its contribution to total municipal policing costs.

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Policing costs
Web posted on Saturday, 01 December 2007

Small Okanagan towns have a looming tax to add to their costs on the horizon. Towns like Osoyoos, Oliver and Peachland will have to pay 70 per cent of their policing costs in 2009, when the federal government says they will have reached more than 5,000 residents. Last year, those communities paid nothing, and were covered by the province. Osoyoos plans to fight the decision, while Peachland's council has been planning for the change for several years.

Source CHBC NEWS

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new Police tax notice found in rural property tax notice
click notice to read larger print
This police tax has already been placed on one rural property just North of Fintry.  This notice was included in the same envelope as the rural property tax notice (bill) for 2007.

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Police Tax charged to Rural Property Tax Bill for Westside of Okanagan Lake

2006 Police Tax rate = .0000
2007 Police Tax rate = .1076
2008 Police Tax rate = .0429
2009 Police Tax rate = .0617
2010 Police Tax rate = .0806
2011 Police Tax rate = .0905
2012 Police Tax rate = .0725

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.pdf icon May 9, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

8. DIRECTOR ITEMS

8.1 Fit for Defence Program

Director Given noted in follow-up to the Crime Stoppers presentation to the Board on the 'Fit for Defence' program that had been presented to School District No. 23 middle school students, the School District has confirmed that it was a successful program and that they are looking to train School District staff to be trained and implement the program themselves. The program is one of other programs for anti-bullying in the District.

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.pdf icon April 11, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon  Item 5.2 Crime Stoppers Program

Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers Statistics 2012 Since Inception 1987
Tips received 1,090 19,820
Tip follow ups 1,435 4,344
Arrests made 83 2,400
Fugitives arrested 52 713
Cases cleared 84 3,325
Charges laid 55 450
Rewards approved 38 713
Rewards collected(claimed) 10 337
Reward Amounts approved $10,655 $264,303
Weapons seized 4 25
Property recovered $5,450 $3,528,187
Drugs seized $9,296,030 $77,313,836

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.pdf icon April 11, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

5.2 Gerry Guiltenane, Coordinator - re: Crime Stoppers Program Update Gerry Guiltenane addressed the committee, providing an update on Crime Stoppers
• Crime Stoppers Board consists of 13 board members.
• 2013 wrapped up of 25 years of operation in the Central Okanagan.
• There are two paid positions for the program.
• Another successful year for a number of their community programs: unsolved crimes, Kelowna's Most Wanted, mug shots, tips from the public - web-based and text.
• Over $10 million in drugs were seized last year.
• Working with UBC-O on some website development to improve the look and functionality of their website.
• Major event - 'fit for defence' - an anti-bullying program in the school district
• Annual golf tournament funds go to pay for rewards and operation of society.
• One of the most successful programs has been the mug shot program.
• Over 300 tips so far this year. 14 wanted persons arrested to date this year.

Discussion:
-The question was raised regarding what type of funding are you looking for the 'Fit for Defence' program? $40,000. Crime Stoppers funding is no longer available so the program will stop but the Society continues to look for opportunities to fund the
program.
-Are we scratching the surface in drug seizures? Treading water! What is the current drug of choice: marijuana is the easiest to get, but heroin and crack cocaine are the most prevalent drugs in the Central Okanagan
-School liaison officer program in schools very critical.
-Are you working on a gang defence program? This program does work in some school districts. There is a significant amount of work done in the school district:
bullying, social media, gangs, drugs, etc. There is a significant concern in our school district, as well as provincially.
-Is there something at the Board level that can be done to help make a difference?

The School Liaison Officer funding is vital. It was noted that School District No. 23 has a safe schools committee. It is important to understand their role, what is being done, and the connection with the school board.

GIVEN/GRAY
THAT the Crime Stoppers Program presentation be received for information;
AND FURTHER THAT the School District be invited to a future meeting to provide information on its school crime prevention programs including: anti-bullying program, Fit for Defence, school liaison program.

CARRIED

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Blue Divider Line

Squamish agrees to new RCMP deal
by The Canadian Press - Story: 77281 - Jun 29, 2012

Every municipality in British Columbia that uses the RCMP as its local police force has now agreed to sign the latest contract, after Squamish, the final holdout, signalled Friday that it will be keeping the Mounties.

Squamish, halfway between Vancouver and Whistler, was among several municipalities that had delayed signing the new, 20-year agreement over concerns about local control and added costs within the contract.

The District of Squamish issued a news release Friday that said while the community still has concerns, it will sign the deal.

The release suggested the district only agreed after the province informed it that not signing would cost the community $450,000 in lost funding. Under the contract, Squamish pays for 90 per cent of the cost of policing, while the federal government picking up the remaining 10 per cent.

"We will continue to work with Council, local residents, the provincial government and other municipalities to address our concerns with the policing contract," Mayor Rob Kirkham said in the news release.

"The safety and security of the people of Squamish is of paramount importance. We do not want to allow this process to place undue risk on our citizens."

BC and other provinces reached the agreement earlier this year, and British Columbia municipalities had until June 30 to sign on, a deadline that had been extended twice since April.

The agreement included a number of measures designed to give provinces and municipalities more control over how their local detachments spend money and operate, including greater say in the hiring of senior officers.

But those provisions weren't enough for some municipalities, who complained about wage increases contained in the contract and demanded even more control over RCMP officers in their communities.

Among Squamish's concerns were the costs associated with a new RCMP headquarters in Surrey, the costs for legal services and security costs for divisional and regional headquarters.

In May, municipal staff recommended councillors refuse to sign the contract unless those concerns were addressed, but it appears Squamish did not receive the concessions it demanded.

"The district was disappointed to have had so little input into a contract that commits our residents for 20 years," the district's news release says.

The loudest objections came from Burnaby, Richmond, Port Coquitlam and the city and district of North Vancouver. All of them eventually agreed to sign the contract, but they also joined together to launch a two-year study into whether the RCMP is worth keeping.

If they decide to ditch the force, they can trigger a two-year opt-out clause to get out of the contract. In that case, they would then have to either start their own police department, invite another municipal force to take over, or work with other cities to create a regional force.

Ladysmith was listed among the communities that hadn't agreed to the new contract, but the town announced Thursday that it will sign. Mayor Rob Hutchins explained the delay was related funding for a recently built RCMP detachment, and that issue had been sorted out.

Only 11 municipalities in BC have their own police force. The rest of the province is policed by the single-largest contingent of RCMP officers of any province.

Under the RCMP contract, small communities with fewer than 15,000 residents split the cost of policing with the federal government, with the municipality paying 70 per cent.

Larger cities pay 90 per cent.

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New cops will target prolific offenders
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 75783 - May 29, 2012

Kelowna's top cop wants to target prolific offenders.

During his three month report to City Council, Superintendent Bill McKinnon says half of the 10 new officers coming to Kelowna between the beginning of July and January, 2013, will make up a second Target Team.

"If we mean to move forward with crime reduction, if we're going to get our calls for service down, we have to target," McKinnon told council.

"We've done a decent job but we can do way better with a Target Team. We can focus on those grow ops, we can focus on those people that are committing a majority of crimes, we can put together a surveillance unit and we can team up with our other units."

McKinnon says four of the other five new members will also have specific duties.

"We are going to create another historical homicide unit. We are going to add two people to our General GI Section because we've had a large increase in the number of robberies and arsons."

He says the fourth member will be assigned to internal RCMP investigations.

"The number of public complaints we have against us and now with the mandate the Commanding Officer of BC has come out with when reporting threshold offences against RCMP officers. Threshold offences are lying, cheating, stealing."

McKinnon says he has yet to decide on the function of the 10th officer.

That member could join the historical homicide team or could serve as a second Domestic Violence Coordinator.

He says the goal is to reduce crime in the city by seven per cent this year and believes with specific deployment of new officers can reduce that even more in 2013.

McKinnon also admitted to council police in Kelowna have not done a very good job of policing distracted drivers.

"I'd say on average two to three cars that pass you on the roadways, there's somebody on their phone. We haven't done a good job and I'm asking my members to step up," says McKinnon.

"If you charge one person, that one person is going to tell 10 more at work that they got charged with that and it's going to make them think about it and they're going to tell 10 more friends. Pretty soon we'll have it under control."

He says it's no different that someone drinking in the beach area.

If there is no consequence, McKinnon says people will keep on doing it.

When it comes to traffic enforcement, McKinnon says in the past he has been forced to pull members off traffic duty in the summer.

"We're not doing that anymore. If we're saying traffic is a priority in our community, I can't be robbing Peter to pay Paul," added McKinnon.

"With the increases we've got from council we don't have to do that this year."

McKinnon also says with the additions approved by council and the number of members returning plus the number of transfers into Kelowna, the detachment is in the best shape it's been in 'quite some time.'

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A round table for Mayors
Castanet.net - by Grant Scott - Story: 74400 - Apr 27, 2012

The four member municipalities of the Inter-Municipal Services Advisory Board - Kelowna, West Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton - are continuing their work on common municipal issues including transit governance, the Okanagan Basin Water Board and environmental permitting.

The board is made up of the four municipal mayors and chief administrative officers.

On Friday, April 20, Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray, Vernon Mayor Robert Sawatzky, West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater and Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton met to plan ahead for the rest of 2012.

“By continuing to work together, the four municipalities are able to address areas of mutual concern, which will be a benefit to all the citizens of the Okanagan Valley,” says Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton.

In the past, that has included agreement on a common Safe Premises bylaw to handle properties found to be cultivating illegal drugs, the launching a Bylaw Dispute Adjudication System and lobbying for continued support of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of the RCMP, dedicated to organized crime activity.

This time around, the group discussed partnership opportunities with BC Transit, which is considering implementing a three-person panel to work with municipalities on planning.

The Mayors agreed that larger centres would like to work in tandem with its provincial transit partner, making the panel available to assist smaller centres with planning.

The group also noted it is looking forward to the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s strategic planning session scheduled for early June, and would call on municipal peers at the coming Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA) convention in Revelstoke to offer the OBWB suggestions and recommendations for consideration during its planning process.

Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton also broached the topic of environmental permitting issues relating to the reconstruction of streamside infrastructure, such as dike systems.

The City of Penticton will take the lead on the matter, writing a letter to senior government to review the lengthy and often costly process required before municipalities are able to conduct needed repairs.

Mayors Gray, Sawatzky, Findlater and Ashton signed two joint letters at the meeting: one to Premier Christy Clark seeking funding support for private landowners for forest fire mitigation and the other to the Union of BC Municipalities seeking a change in how funds are allocated under the Gas Tax Agreement.

Ongoing concerns that impact all member municipalities were also discussed, including enforcement of lakeshore zoning regulations and the RCMP policing agreement.

Inter-Municipal Services Advisory Board meetings are held quarterly and alternate between municipalities. The four mayors represent more than 80 per cent of the Okanagan’s population.

Blue Divider Line

Cop costs and policing options
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 73753 - Apr 11, 2012

It's time for West Kelowna to find out how much it will cost for its own police force.

Councillor, Bryden Winsby

That's the opinion of West Kelowna Councillor Bryden Winsby after council voted to endorse the new 20-year RCMP contract.

The contract between the province and BC municipalities does allow for a two-year opt out clause if a particular municipality is not happy with what was happening with the RCMP.

They would have that 24 month window to look at other policing options.

Winsby says he thinks it's time the municipality started to crunch its own numbers.

"We know it's probably more expensive -- in fact it might be a lot more expensive, but at least we would have figures in front of us so we can understand that, 'if you don't like the cost of the RCMP, here are the options," says Winsby.

"We might not like those either."

The options open may include a Provincial Police Force or a Municipal Police Force.

Winsby says he's not advocating either at the present time but says council should have the numbers in case alternatives are an option.

However, before making a formal request at the council table, Winsby says the current contract situations needs to play out first.

While BC municipalities have been pleased with the contract itself, several now voicing their disapproval over news late last week that municipalities will be on the hook for RCMP raises announced by the federal government.

Those raises amount to 1.75% retroactive to January 1, 2012, 1.5% on January 1, 2013 and 2% on January 1, 2014.

"It hasn't played out fully. Other municipalities have to determine whether they are going to sign the contract or whether they are going to push away from the table," says Winsby.

"In so doing, will there be a move afoot by a number of municipalities to look at a return of a provincial police force. If everybody operates in isolation that's not necessarily a good thing."

Winsby adds the current system can't be quickly dismantled anyway.

"We've had the RCMP here for a long time and it's not something you pull apart in a hurry."

West Kelowna meantime joined other interior municipalities in asking that the new contract with the RCMP be endorsed.

Mayor Doug Findlater wanted to delay signing the contract as a show of support for other municipalities on the coast such as Richmond and Surrey, however, the rest of council, while not liking the turn of events, asked that the contract be signed.

"I want it on record that I as well, am extremely disappointed with the federal government on this matter," says Councillor Rick de Jong.

"Poorly handled in the light of the new contract and supposed transparency -- non-existent in this case. But I do move that we move forward."

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.pdf icon February 17, 2012 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 1 Budget Presentation.pdf

.pdf icon Item 1a Budget Piechart.pdf

.pdf icon Item 1b Budget Summaries.pdf

.pdf icon Item 1c Tax Requisitions and Rates.pdf

.pdf icon Item 2 Financial Plan Contents.pdf

.pdf icon Item 2a Environmental Services - Engineering.pdf

.pdf icon Item 2b Environmental Services - Waste Management.pdf

.pdf icon Item 3a Development Services - Planning.pdf

.pdf icon Item 3b Development Services - Protection Services.pdf

.pdf icon Item 3c Development Services - Inspection Services.pdf

.pdf icon Item 4 Parks Services.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5 Finance and Administration.pdf

.pdf icon Item 6 Corporate Services.pdf

.pdf icon Item 6a Corporate Services - Policing Liaison Services.pdf

.pdf icon Item 7 Economic Development Commission.pdf

.pdf icon Item 8 Regional Board.pdf

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.pdf icon February 17, 2012 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

*Note* This is only a snippet, please click link above for entire content.

2.3 2012 Budget Review

Marilyn Rilkoff began a review of the 2012 budget. The question was raised regarding FTE's (full-time equivalents) and whether the cost is applied to the department they report to or the service. FTE costs are allocated to individual services. If you participate in a service you pay a portion of FTE.

911
- RDCO share increased. Increased staffing cost for supervision.
- Looking at other method of service delivery
Crime Stoppers
- It was noted there is the potential a vehicle will need to be purchased. The current vehicle is donated and if arrangements cannot be made for a donation in the future a vehicle will need to be purchased.
The vehicle is a key awareness tool for the program and is used to transport equipment for their various functions. A vehicle is required.
-The question was raised what else the reserves would be used for? Nothing as far as capital needs.
OPHUS/FINDALTER
THAT the $30,000 for replacement of a vehicle be removed from capital budget, and if required in the future bring forward as a budget amendment.
DEFEATED (Ophus, Findlater, Edgson voted in favor)

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.pdf icon February 14, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

7. DIRECTOR ITEMS

c) District of West Kelowna Resolutions to SILGA

Director Findlater noted that the District of West Kelowna council are considering various resolutions for this years' SILGA convention (tiered funding for future federal gas tax funding; authority for regional districts to adopt bylaws as municipalities can for dealing with grow-op houses; provincial wide noise bylaw).

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.pdf icon January 12, 2012 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 5.3 Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers Update.pdf

*Note* This is only a snippet, please click link above for entire content

2011 Statistics Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers
• Tips received 1071
• Arrests made 90
• Cases cleared 105
• Charges laid 109
• Rewards approved 38
• Rewards collected 15
• Rewards $3775
• Weapons seized 6
• Property recovered $35,725
• Drugs seized $6,473,680

Canadian Crime Stoppers Statistics
• Arrests made 151,536
• Cases cleared 245,047
• Rewards paid $13,181,750
• Property recovered $502,455,701
• Drugs seized $3,002,527,379

Crime Stoppers International Statistics
• Arrests made 902,793
• Cases cleared 1,371,840
• Rewards paid $101,857,622
• Property recovered $2,191,612,226
• Drugs seized $8,123,022,383

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.pdf icon January 12, 2012 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

5.3 Gerry Guiltenane, Crime Stoppers Coordinator re: Update on Program

Gerry Guiltenane provided an update on the Crime Stoppers program. January is Crime Stoppers month in the Central Okanagan. A review of the service and statistics was provided including 2011 highlights. 2012 initiatives include:

• To promote the Crime Stoppers program, non-profit society, founded in 1987, part of 29 programs in BC, and affiliated with Canadian and international programs.
• Information is considered privileged and not subject to legal-court/FO!.
• To expand the use of social media to promote the programs and public awareness
• To work in conjunction with other agencies ie: Canadian Crime Stoppers
• To work with youth initiatives with School District No. 23
• Continue major fundraising events
• Recruit new board members
• Registered society, where donations can be made. Without the support of the RDCO the program would not be viable.
• 25th Anniversary celebrations are being worked on for 2012.

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StatsCan rates Kelowna as most under-policed metro area the country
By Alistair Waters - Kelowna Capital News - December 14, 2011

New Statistics Canada figures, that show Kelowna had the lowest number of police officers per 100,000 residents of any of Canada's 33 largest metropolitan areas this year, will not deter the city's plan to have an independent consultant complete a review to determine the optimal number of cops needed here.

City corporate sustainability general manager Paul Macklem said while he is disappointed to see the Kelowna was last on Statistics Canada list, he noted the figures also show the rate grew between 2010 and 2011 by two per cent, while it fell in many of the other jurisdictions.

Kelowna was one of only five areas in the country where the rate grew by two per cent or more.

Asked if the information was new to him, Macklem joked: "All I've really learned from this is that I'm getting a lot of calls (from the media)."

On a more serious note, he said hearing Kelowna RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon say his officers have one of the highest caseload rates per officer in Canada is not new. That has been known for years and every year, McKinnon usually asks for more officers to add to the 148 he is currently authorized to have in the city.

But adding more cops is a costly option and Macklem said when all associated costs are taken into account, the price taxpayer's face for every police officer here will be $138,500 in 2012. Policing currently costs the city about $19.4 million per year. when combined with the cost of the fire department, the two protective services account for one-third of the city's tax demand.

As a result, the city has hired independent consultant Robert Prosser to study the local detachment and determine how many officers are needed here to keep the city safe.

Both Macklem and his boss, city manager Ron Mattiussi have stressed that the review is not because of any concerns the city has with how the local detachment is being run or the conduct of police officers, but rather with the funding, mainly from Victoria, that helps pay for its operation.

Mattiussi said McKinnon is supportive of the review and has been kept appraised of the preliminary findings. McKinnon was out of town yesterday and could not be contacted for comment.

Prosser's report will be presented to city council Jan. 30 and Macklem said he expects council will direct staff to come back with recommendations based on Prosser's findings.

The Statistics Canada numbers, which have become provincial news, also rank Kelowna 29th on the agency's Crime Severity Index, which takes into account both the frequency and severity of crime in the listed metro areas. The figures used for the index were taken from 2010 and do not include two high-profile murders in the city this year, the death of Dane Phillips during an altercation in Rutland and the brazen Sunday-afternoon gang-style assassination of reputed Vancouver gang leader Jonathan Bacon outside the Delta Grand Hotel in the summer.

"Because of that, I know the figures will be worse (when they are complied for 2011) next year," said Macklem.

Investigations into such high-profile crimes increases the workload on local officers even more.

Earlier this week, McKinnon repeated what he has said for years, that the increasing workload on his officers, is taking a toll. While there are 148 officers authorized for the city, not all of them are available at any one given time due to issues like holidays, medical leave, secondment to other investigations or departments and training.

In Kelowna, like most communities across the country, the crime rate is actually declining but here, the severity of the crimes being reported appears to be well above the national average, according to the Statistics Canada index. While the index listed its base at 82.7 in 2010, Kelowna's number was 113.1.

As for the possibility of the city providing more officers for McKinnon in the coming year, that remains to be seen during the municipal budget deliberations set to start Jan. 13.

Macklem said this year, Kelowna was hit the "triple whammy" of large increases to RCMP pension premiums that the city had to absorb, increases in salaries and benefits as mandated by the current RCMP contract and an economy that was, in Macklem's words, "still in the middle of a recession."

He said adding more police officers has to be weighed in light of other city spending priorities and what taxpayers are willing to pay for.

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RCMP cameras with crime photos found in trees
CBC News Posted: Nov 15, 2011

'That corpse that I viewed is someone's loved one,' B.C. resident says

A B.C. man has seized two surveillance cameras he says RCMP had hidden in trees near his trailer home, and they are full of images from crime scenes and investigations.

Dion Nordick of Grand Forks told CBC News on Tuesday he found the motion-activated cameras in June, in trees overlooking the trailer he rents. They are now in his lawyer's possession.

Nordick said he took the cameras down, removed the memory cards inside, and found pictures of himself and his friends coming and going from his trailer among the 200 images on the cameras.

The motion-actived cameras installed by the RCMP are commonly used by hunters to capture images of game in the wilderness. ((Bob Keating/CBC))

There were also pictures of drug busts, suicides and assaults, "and it looked like they just hadn't been erased off the card," said Nordick.

He said he saw a photo of a dead body and images of a woman who was the apparent victim of an assault.

"That corpse that I viewed is someone's loved one. Those pictures of that woman standing in her brassiere, covered in bruises — she probably had a hard time letting the police take those pictures. She probably had a hard time going to the police," said Nordick.

The cameras even had pictures of police installing the devices in the trees.

Flash gave cameras away

He said he was alerted to the cameras because they used a flash when they were filming.

"I would say it's 100 per cent sloppy police work. It's Charlie Brown technique, I would say," said Nordick.

Nordick said he believes the RCMP installed the cameras in the trees because he is a graffiti artist and they wanted to track his movements to help determine if he had been spray-painting tags around the community.

He said RCMP raided his home in June and told the local media they found evidence of a grow-op, but no actual marijuana plants.

They also found spray paint and stencils, which they took, he said.

Jesse Gelber, a lawyer for Dion Nordick, sits with one of the RCMP cameras that the Grand Forks, B.C., man seized from trees outside his trailer home. (CBC)

Nordick said he gave the cameras to his lawyer, Jesse Gelber, who said police had no right to be on the property installing surveillance cameras.

"Generally, police don’t have judicial authorization to enter onto private land. That’s not legal; that’s trespass," said Gelber.

Gelber said he is keeping the cameras until he gets an explanation from police.

But the RCMP say they want their cameras returned.

"The fact that someone has committed a criminal act and stolen our cameras certainly is, I guess, a concern for RCMP and for our investigators," said Sgt. Dan Seibel.

Seibel also said RCMP would not be recommending any charges related to drugs or graffiti-related mischief.

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.pdf icon November 10, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 10.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report.pdf

Policing Services:

031 - 911 Emergency Number (Page 145): RDCO 911 Emergency staff attended BC 911 Service Providers Association fall meeting and were updated on the text messaging pilot project for the deaf and hard of hearing community. City of Nanaimo is preparing for a legal suit and provided an update on wireless call answering levy. RCMP contact was transferred. Manager of Police Services has met with new RCMP E DIVISION officer regarding service delivery and staffing. Working groups have been established to work on standardization regarding RCMP and 911 services. Commissions paid by Telus and Bell Mobility $14,130 to Sept. 30, 2011. Software maintenance program renewal in the amount of $3,500 purchased as required for primary answering point system.

040 - Crime Stoppers (Page 147): The 2012 Strategic Planning Conference took place Sept. 23, 2011. Crime Stoppers Board identified objectives for 2012 including targeting corporate sponsorships, Crime Stoppers awareness campaign, 2012 Golf tournament fundraiser, Youth initiatives, revenue generation, and the recruitment of Board members and volunteers. The 2012 Strategic Plan will prioritize youth initiatives. One candidate has been identified, interviewed and recommended as a replacement Board member. The Program has one more candidate scheduled to be interviewed. Crime Stoppers Program Coordinator has been nominated to the BC Advisory Board for Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers will be partnering with other
sections in the Community Operational Support. Crime Stoppers Website has received 24,135 visits to Sept. 30, 2011, indicating that the public is utilizing the site to obtain information on criminal activity in the community. The 2011 Fund Raising Golf Tournament held September 16th at Sunset Ranch Golf& Country Club raised $14,000.

041 - Victims Services (Page 149): New clients were 85% adult with the remaining fifteen percent consisting of seniors, youth and children. Of the new clients, 73% were female. 75% of Victim Services Clients are from RCMP referrals; 38% of Callouts are due to sudden deaths. RCMP members have recognized the importance of Victim Services and quality of service that staff brings to the community. Staff continues to provide court support services, including 65 hours of court accompaniment and liaison with Crown Counsel and BC Sheriffs with regards to serious crime files, inclUding but not limited to murder. Victim Services staff attended the police based victim services regional meeting in Vernon. A representative from RCMP E Division and the Ministry of Public Safety were also in attendance. RDCO Victim Services Program was commended in regards to the recognition of on call services. Monthly meetings have resumed with the community based victim services.

042 - Regional Crime Prevention (Page 153): Two to three new Block Watch programs have been completed. Other orientations are currently scheduled in an effort to expand the Block Watch Crime Prevention Program to more neighbourhoods in the area. Active volunteer recruitment is currently taking place. The detachment's Community Operational Support Unit, City of Kelowna administrative assistant is supporting the Program by running preliminary security checks and setting up files for security review for potential volunteer recruitment. The West Kelowna Detachment does not provide this service. The cost for this service was not included in the 2011 bUdget. West Kelowna Crime Prevention Office is in the process of being dissolved with all assets and memberships to be transferred to the West Kelowna Crime Prevention Society. Once the transfer is finalized, a name change is to follow. Central Okanagan Speed Watch volunteers have increased in number due to the closure of the West Kelowna Crime Prevention office and different complaints to deal with in the Program.

039 - Crime Prevention Sub-Program Alarm Control (Page 155): Due to limited staff resources in the program it has been difficult to complete the billing process. Relief assistance has been provided for the Program and recruitment process is in place to hire additional relief staff. Hiring process has been delayed due to need for security clearance. Some third quarter stats are not available due to absence of Alarm Program Coordinator.

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.pdf icon November 10, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

10. Finance & Administrative Services

10.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report - Year-to-date - September 30, 2011

Staff report dated November 2nd outlined an executive summary highlights for the year quarterly program measures report to September 30, 2011. Staff verbally reviewed some of the highlights noting that an amendment to the financial plan bylaw is forthcoming.

OPHUS/EDGSON
THAT the Quarterly Program Measures Report, year-to-date September 30,2011 be received.

CARRIED

It was noted that construction is underway on the Okanagan Safe Harbour and that Lake Country has expressed concern that it will not function in the same way as previous and questioned whether this was a budget issue. Staff noted that the
RDCO is working on refurbishment of safe harbor in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment (MOE) approvals. MOE has identified fisheries habitat in and around the safe harbor and this has elevated concern around the criteria for refurbishment in the area.

There will be impacts from southerly waves as batterboards are no longer in place and cannot be added due to Ministry approvals. Staff continue to work with the MOE regarding the height of the courtesy dock-- under the large lake protocol
docks cannot be floating which means the dock will not function well in low water.
The MOE has agreed to lower the dock slightly and staff will continue to work with MOE to seek approval to drop the dock level-the best may be at high water level.

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.pdf icon October 13, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

5. Delegations

5.1 Supt. Bill McKinnon, RCMP re: update on detachment priorities & initiatives Supt. McKinnon provided an update on the detachment priorities and initiatives including:
• West Kelowna school liaison position approved
• Peachland is part of school liaison position as well as WFN.
• Official audit being done by E-division of the detachment.
• Summer months somewhat non-eventful, since homicide it has been extremely busy. 17 members on secondment for major drug investigations, homicide file.
• Crime reduction strategy - goal reviewed to reduce crime and increase public safety and awareness.
• Crime statistics reviewed for Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country significant reductions from 2009 to 2011
• There is need for further officers-these requests wills be brought forward to municipal councils for 2012.

Director Findlater arrived at 8:45 a.m.

Questions:
- Can statistics be posted--municipal websites, chamber websites, get the news out as this is a 'good news story'. Stats have been provided to the media and can be provided to the municipalities for their websites.
- Is there something different we should be doing for the prolific offender? Need more government programs. 75% of what the RCMP deal with is drug related.
- The new rules for drinking & driving are working--50% reduction in accidents.
- What about policing at UBCO. The University is within municipality of Kelowna, and Kelowna is responsible for policing. Hiring extra officers on weekends to assist with enforcement at the University
-Stats have been included in the media.

SHEPHERD/BAKER
THAT the presentation from RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon regarding the detachment's priorities and initiatives be received.

CARRIED

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.pdf icon August 11, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 11.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report.pdf

Policing Services:

031 - 911 Emergency Number (Page 150): A renewal service agreement to December 31, 2011, has been signed with Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District.
RDCO 911 Emergency staff attended SC 911 Service Providers Association spring meeting and AGM.
Staff participates on Call Answer Levy working group.
New equipment is under discussion with the RCMP due to an incident involving death.  A report exploring staffing options has been submitted to the Board. Contract services costs have increased as RDCO employees are not able to fill all shifts. RDCO does not have control over hiring staff for back fill as scheduling is done by the RCMP. There is a limited pool of employees to draw from and the employees have varying employment agreements. Commissions being paid by Telus and Bell Mobility total $9,376 for the first half of 2011. Printers at the 911 office have been replaced.

040 - Crime Stoppers (page 152): Videos on Graffiti, Cyber Bullying and Drug Trafficking produced during the 2010 joint video project with the students at Rutland Senior Secondary are being featured on the Crime Stoppers website, You Tube, CHBC TV and Shaw TV. The 2011 BC Provincial Crime Stoppers Training Conference held in Kelowna was a major success. Vista Radio received an award for their Crime Stoppers Public Service Announcements and the Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers program received a Milestone award for $3.2 million worth of drugs seized in 2010. The Annual General Meeting was held on June 16, 2011. With five positions to fill, the Program is actively seeking new board members and has found two potential replacements. Crime Stoppers program has been assisting the Kelowna General Investigation Section on a series of arson fires in the Rutland area. The program has also been approached by the South East District Serious Crimes unit to assist in a cold case homicide. A crime re-enactment on the unsolved Leon Avenue shooting crime was completed in conjunction with CHBC and the Kelowna RCMP Major Crimes Unit. The segment aired on CHBC in June and resulted in several tips sent to Crime Stoppers.
Discussions are underway with the West Kelowna GIS to conduct a re-enactment to determine the identity of human remains discovered on a logging road ten years ago. Crime Stoppers Website in the first half of 2011 received 15,733 visits indicating that the public is utilizing the site to obtain information on criminal activity in the community. The 2011 Fund Raising Golf Tournament planning is underway with the event to be held September 16th at Sunset Ranch Golf & Country Club.

041 - Victims Services (page 154): New clients were 84% adult with the remaining sixteen percent consisting of seniors, youth and children. Of the new clients, 75% were female. 75% of Victim Services Clients are from RCMP referrals; 46% of Callouts are due to sudden deaths. The majority of callouts attended by staff involve death, suicide and motor vehicle accidents. The 2011 - 2012 Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General funding was approved and the contract renewed. During national Victims of Crime Week, April 10 - 16, Victim Services partnered with the regional libraries, detachments, community groups, government liquor store, local colleges and university, to promote the Program and raise awareness
regarding victims' issues. An increase of services is now provided regarding the area of court support which includes accompaniment and court appearance date updates. Staff has access to JUSTIN which is a case specific information source, and Justice BC to facilitate this service. During the second quarter of 2011, the increased number of serious incidents has increased the complexity of the service delivery of these case files.

042 - Regional Crime Prevention (page 158): Crime Prevention office relocated to the new West Kelowna RCMP Detachment April 18, 2011. Two to three new Block Watch programs are currently scheduled in an effort to expand the Block Watch Crime Prevention Program to more neighbourhoods in the area.
West Kelowna Crime Prevention Office is in the process of amalgamating with the West Kelowna Citizen's Patrol.

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.pdf icon August 11, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

11. Finance

11.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report, Year-to-date - June 30, 2011

The Quarterly Program Measures Report, year-to-date June 30, 2011, Executive Summary was presented for information and review. Staff highlighted any areas of financial concern to date within the Executive Summary.

The Committee was reminded it is staff's responsibility to identify any change from their original plans including goals, revenues, expenses and that it's the Board's responsibility to ensure the documents are reviewed and any concerns raised.

SHEPHERD/FINDLATER
THAT the Quarterly Measures Report, Year-to-date June 30,2011 be received.

CARRIED

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.pdf icon March 10, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Agenda

.pdf icon Item 3.1 New Official Community Plans Update.pdf

.pdf icon Item 4.1 Woodhaven Regional Park UBCO Eco Art Project Update.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.2 Budget Introduction.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.1 b-i NewStaffing-Admin.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.1bii New Staffing -RegParks.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.1c Engineering FTE Increase.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.3 Regional Grant-in-Aid Allocation.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 a - Budget Summary.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 b - Tax Requisitions and Rates.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 ciii-ProgramBudget-Planning.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 cii-ProgramBudget-SWM.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 ci-ProgramBudget - Engineering.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 c-iv-ProgramBudget-Fire Protection.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 c-ix-ProgramBudget-EDC.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 c-viii-ProgramBudget-PolicingServices.pdf

5.3 Delegations

a) RCMP Supt. McKinnon and Cary Berger - re: Domestic Violence Support Worker Position

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 10, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting .mp3 (537 MB or over 3 hours 55 mins)

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About domestic violence, Crime Stoppers, victim services.  The police cannot find out if a home is a legitimate grow op until they get there.  More officers are needed.  Superintendant Bill McKinnon supports sobering centers, but where does the money come from.  No funding from the Province for Domestic Violence and have been denied twice by the Ministry.  So many other things come first before Domestic Violence.  Need more drug members. Director Edgson said domestic violence is tied to the economy and grow ops.  City of Kelowna survey said #1 concern residents have is domestic violence.  120 domestic violence cases a month.

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 c-vii-ProgramBudget-Administration.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 c-vi-ProgramBudget-Finance.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 c-v-ProgramBudget-Inspection.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 c-v-ProgramBudget-Parks.pdf

.pdf icon Item 5.4.4 c-x-ProgramBudget-RegionalBoard.pdf

.pdf icon March 10, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

5.3 Delegations

a) RCMP Supt. McKinnon and Cary Berger - re: Domestic Violence Support Worker Position Cary Berger, RDCO Manager of Police Services, provided the committee with an update on funding for the Domestic Violence Support Worker position. She stated a funding application had been submitted to the Ministry of Public Safety and the Standing Finance Committee to review, it was denied. Staff had a conference call with the Ministry and the Province noted that they have no funding for this position;
they support a community based victim service program and they are not interested in a third model at this time.
RCMP Superintendent McKinnon addressed the Board regarding the Domestic Violence Support Worker Position. He stated that they have re-organized and going forward, support will be provided by the plain clothes section and will be acted upon immediately, as a high priority. He noted that there are many positions that are needed within the RCMP and that in the scope of positions needed, this position is not determined as a high priority.

The City of Kelowna noted that domestic violence was identified as the number one priority for the City. It was asked of staff if the community based funding model be explored, instead of the police model? Staff noted that there is great value in having an in-house model as it falls under Federal jurisdiction with full disclosure.

Community based support works would be under non-disclosure.
The committee noted that it supported Superintendent McKinnon and the reorganization for support of the Domestic Violence Support Worker position. It was noted that they would like to continue to lobby for funding for the model in their community. If funding is not forthcoming then perhaps re-think and advocate for money to come from the community based program the Province is in support of.

SHEPHERD/HODGSON
THAT the Governance and Services Committee continue to support the pursuit of a Domestic Violence Support Worker position, however if funding is not forthcoming that staff start to pursue other funding options to provide a police- based position to support domestic violence in the community.

CARRIED

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5.3 Delegations

a) RCMP Supt. McKinnon and Cary Berger - re: Domestic Violence Support Worker Position

.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio March 10, 2011 audio of entire RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting .mp3 (537 MB or over 3 hours 55 mins)

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About domestic violence, Crime Stoppers, victim services.  The police cannot find out if a home is a legitimate grow op until they get there.  More officers are needed.  Superintendant Bill McKinnon supports sobering centers, but where does the money come from.  No funding from the Province for Domestic Violence and have been denied twice by the Ministry.  So many other things come first before Domestic Violence.  Need more drug members. Director Edgson said domestic violence is tied to the economy and grow ops.  City of Kelowna survey said #1 concern residents have is domestic violence.  120 domestic violence cases a month.

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Policing remains a vital service
Vernon Morning Star - January 22, 2011

It would be easy to accuse Vernon council of ignoring public safety after hearing that the number of budgeted police officers has gone from 52 to 50.

However, that would be more of a gut reaction than reality.

One has to consider that in recent years, the city has directed considerable financial resources towards hiring additional police officers and bylaw enforcement officers. Community policing has also received significant support.

We all remember back to a time when residents and merchants complained about the extent of crime downtown. Cenotaph Park was virtually off limits for law-abiding citizens and some employees were reluctant to walk to their cars in the dark. Times have changed and while there is still crime, the common perception is that downtown is a much safer place to be.

The RCMP suggest that shifting from 52 to 50 budgeted officers will make it challenging to maintain services. However, the city claims staffing varies from 48 to 51 depending on circumstances and nobody will lose their job. Which scenario is correct? We will have to wait and see.

It should be pointed out that two officers cost about $172,000 a year — that’s considerable when $246,416 equates to a one per cent tax increase in the city.

Given the impact the recession has created for many residents and businesses, council must make some difficult decisions as part of the 2011 budget. No city department got exactly what it wanted.

In the end, though, we are confident the RCMP will continue to provide the high level of service we have come to expect in the community.

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September 9, 2010 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Special Board Meeting

Nothing mentioned in the Highlights about Domestic Violence Support Worker

September 9, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Special Board Meeting Agenda

Nothing mentioned in the Agenda about Domestic Violence Support Worker

September 9, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Special Board Meeting Minutes

1.2 Other

a) Domestic Violence Support Worker
It was noted that the funding proposal to the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General regarding a domestic violence support worker pilot project submitted in May 2010 has been denied for two reasons: lack of funding and the Ministry does not want to introduce a third model but prefers the community based program. It was agreed that lobbying for funding for the
pilot project needs to continue.

SHEPHERD/HODGE
THAT the denial of the application for funding for a pilot police-based Domestic Violence Support Worker be shared with our MLAs;

AND THAT the Chair and Directors attempt to meet with Ministry officials at the upcoming UBCM Convention to lobby for support of the pilot project;

AND FURTHER THAT staff attend the public provincial budget meetings scheduled for September 21 and if possible present a case for funding of a police based domestic violence program.

CARRIED

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September 9, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Agenda

Item 5.1 Domestic Violence Support Worker Pilot Project.pdf

Agenda No: 5.1
Mtg Date: Sept 9, 2010

June 22, 2010
File No.: 0530-02/0410-20

Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Victim Services and Crime Prevention
Attn: Susanne Dahlin, Executive Director
302-815 Hornby St.
Vancouver, B.C.
V6Z 2E6

Dear Ms Dahlin:

Re: Domestic Violence Support Worker Pilot Project

The Regional Board has requested a letter be forwarded in support of the proposal, "Kelowna RCMP Domestic Violence Support Worker Pilot Project" forwarded to your office by Cary Berger from the Regional District of Central Okanagan, May 28, 2010.

The vision of this project is to improve the overall system response to domestic violence through relevant, intensive support and empowerment to victims of domestic violence. Funding is being sought from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General to enable the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) to contract one full-time designated Domestic Violence Unit Support Worker. It is proposed that the RDCO would manage the funding and supervise the designated support worker through the RDCO police based victim services program within the RDCO Police Services Department. Established regional programs within the RDCO Police Services Department consist of: Alarm Control, Crime Prevention, Crime Stoppers, Victim Services, and 9-1-1. All of the said programs have an established, accepted, and vital partnership with police and each of the
programs promote community safety and well being.

The designated support worker would work alongside the RCMP member assigned to the Domestic Violence Unit. Currently, the member position is funded through the City of Kelowna and is housed in Kelowna Detachment.

Our police based victim services program has been successful in our region for over 20 years and works well within the policing environment and integrated detachment area which includes Kelowna, Lake Country, and West Kelowna RCMP Detachments. Further, the program serves the communities of Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland, West Kelowna, two electoral areas, and Westbank First Nation.

The proposal forwarded to your office requests funding for one year; however, we urge your office to consider long-term funding for the proposed designated support worker position. The importance of such a project deserves the opportunity for continued sustainable funding.

Should you require any further information, please feel free to contact me. We look forward to hearing from your office.
Yours truly,

Thank you for your consideration

Yours sincerely,
Robert Hobson, Chair

cc: Norm Letnick, MLA
Ben Stewart, MLA
Ken Thomson, MLA
Supt. Bill McKinnon, Kelowna RCMP Detachment

.pdf icon September 9, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Meeting Minutes

5. Police Services

5.1 Update on Domestic Violence Support Worker - Application for Funding Staff updated the Committee on the funding proposal to the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General regarding a domestic violence support worker pilot project. A funding proposal was submitted in May 2010 and in follow-up discussions with Ministry staff it has been confirmed that the proposal has been denied for two reasons: lack of funding and the Ministry does not want to introduce a third model but prefers the community based program.

Staff reviewed the locations of where community programs receive funding. Programs funded today go to community based programs only. The Model the Regional District proposed was to attach the program to the police services. It was noted that there is a different philosophy between the various areas, the model and the Ministry. The appeal process is really at the political level to lobby for a change at the Ministry level. It was noted that public provincial budget meetings are being held in the Central Okanagan in the near future and that it may be of value for staff to attend and if possible present for increased funding for a police based program for domestic violence.

SHEPHERD/HODGE
THAT the denial of the application for funding for a pilot police-based Domestic Violence Support Worker be shared with our MLAs;

AND THAT the Chair and Directors attempt to meet with Ministry officials at the upcoming UBCM Convention to lobby for support of the pilot project;

AND FURTHER THAT staff attend the public provincial budget meetings next week and present, if possible, a case for funding of a police based domestic violence program.

CARRIED

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Policing cost concerns delivered at UBCM
Vernon Morning Star - By Roger Knox - September 30, 2010

Mike de Jong has been given an earful on the issues several cities, including Vernon, face with costs involving integrated RCMP detachments.

B.C.’s solicitor-general met with the Vernon delegation earlier this week at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention at Whistler.

“It went well,” said Vernon Mayor Wayne Lippert of the meeting with de Jong. “We asked him to re-look at costs, particularly for those communities with integrated detachments like ours.”

Lippert presented a report to the solicitor-general, believing Vernon is unfairly covering policing costs for the rest of the North Okanagan region.

The report states the city currently pays virtually all support costs for 38.5 employees of the Vernon-North Okanagan detachment. The city funds 33.5 full-time equivalent employees, Coldstream covers two and three are funded provincially.

Costs and employee increases due to a new records management system and other service level increases have also largely been covered by Vernon.

The local detachment has been integrated since 2004.

“What’s key to note is the contract for policing is done directly between the provincial and federal government. It has nothing to do with the RCMP or municipalities,” said Lippert. “When the costs are put back to the municipalities, they’re all sub-contractors of the province, not the federal government. The municipalities need to talk to the province.”

The solicitor-general seemed to take Vernon’s words and report to heart.

“He was making notes on that so that he could study it,” said Lippert. “Most of the detachments and sub-contracts the province has with municipalities and regional districts are not of the integrated type. They’re full, where everyone is paying the same and boundaries are defined and everybody’s in the same circumstance in those boundaries.

“In the North Okanagan, we have a large urban area that can go directly into a large rural area and they can’t use resources outside the City of Vernon in the rural area.”

Lippert met with about 30 other mayors, including communities with integrated detachments, to discuss issues such as policing costs.

“One thing nobody’s happy with is a 20-year-contract offered by the federal government and they won’t budge on it,” said Lippert. “There are clauses, however, to review the contract every five years.”

The current RCMP contract expires in 2012.

Lippert and Couns. Jack Gilroy and Shawn Lee spent the week meeting with close to 10 provincial cabinet ministers talking about a number of subjects at UBCM.

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Kelowna politicians want more fiscal support for policing
Kelowna Capital News - By Kathy Michaels - September 30, 2010

Representatives from cities across B.C. are banding together to pressure Ottawa to lighten the financial load related to policing, which they say is becoming a crippling expense.

“There are concerns about increasing costs, a lack of accountability and whether there should be other sources of policing looked at,” said Mayor Sharon Shepherd, who is at the UBCM meeting in Whistler this week.

“We are among 30 communities that pay 90 per cent of the costs for RCMP…and it’s becoming unaffordable.”

Shepherd, along with other mayors from cities that have populations exceeding 15,000, wants the cost to be cut to 70 per cent—a proposal the federal government rejected this summer.

They also refused the 50-50 split in costs for municipalities with populations from 5,000 to 15,000 in size. Those areas now foot 70 per cent of policing costs.

“It’s a major budget item, and it’s hard to control,” said Shepherd.

“As municipalities, we don’t get to see the details of the spending.

“We are fortunate we have an excellent relationship with the superintendent, but it’s hard for him to identify what we’re covering.”

Furthering the strain on Kelowna in terms of policing related costs, is that there’s a need to fund police resources for a city that swells in size over the course of tourist season.

“We heard the same thing from many other tourism-based communities,” she said.

The push to get what Shepherd believes to be a more equitable pay ratio is set against negotiations to renew B.C.’s contract with the RCMP.

It expires in March 2012 and there are rumblings across B.C. that a provincial police force, like Ontario has, would be preferable.

Shepherd didn’t weigh in on that, but said she wants to see the new contract improve upon current conditions.

“The new contract is looking at accountability…municipalities are all struggling with how we will pay with these increases,” she said.

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It was reported on CHBC noon news Aug 27, 2010 that there are 17 police officers serving the North Okanagan during a town hall meeting in Falkland where residents were pretty emotional about the amount of policing they receive in Falkland.

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Town hall focuses on Falkland policing
Vernon Morning Star - By Richard Rolke - August 21, 2010

RCMP officials are preparing to defend their actions in one North Okanagan community.

A town hall meeting will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Falkland Community Hall, and the focus will be public concerns that the level of policing has decreased.

Insp. Jim McNamara, with the North Okanagan RCMP, says he has heard the concerns but believes creating one integrated shift schedule for Falkland, Enderby, Armstrong and surrounding areas has been positive.

“We’re enhancing our ability to provide Falkland with greater coverage than they have now,” he said.

Falkland has traditionally had three officers assigned there, but with one away on leave, that has made it difficult for the two remaining officers to manage duties.

“The only way we can cover everything is to draw on the entire North Okanagan. It gives us more flexibility,” said McNamara, adding that if an incident occurs in Falkland, an available officer from Enderby or Armstrong will be dispatched.

However, not everyone is happy with the new structure.

“They don’t see police here very often,” said Rene Talbot, Columbia-Shuswap Regional District director.

Talbot is concerned officers could be at the north end of Mabel Lake or down along Okanagan Lake when an emergency occurs in Falkland.

“It’s call-for-service now and it takes time to get here,” he said.

“I have expressed concerns about response times and a lack of presence and my questions go unanswered. They’re just taxi drivers now, not policemen. All they do is drive.”

Talbot wants three officers permanently stationed at the Falkland detachment, and insists that is the only way to improve service.

“With some incidents, you can’t wait,” he said of crime and speeding on Highway 97.

McNamara insists there was a need for the integrated shift schedule in the North Okanagan.

“We need to look at providing more efficient service with limited resources,” he said.

McNamara points out that with one officer away on leave, scheduling the other two designated for Falkland became difficult because of holidays, illness and mandatory training.

The other issue, he said, is there is no guarantee the designated officers will live in Falkland so having on-call officers respond from Enderby or Armstrong provides more efficient service.

When the third officer is back from leave, all three officers designated to Falkland will continue to start their shifts there, as will two other rural officers.

“They will respond to calls elsewhere but that’s still their home base,” said McNamara.

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August 12, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance & Services Committee Agenda

Item 5.1 Quarterly Program Measures Report.pdf

Agenda No: 5.1
Mtg Date: August 12, 2010
TO: RDCO Directors and Department Heads
FROM: Donna Adams, Accounting Analyst; Marilyn Rilkoff, Manager of Finance and Administration
DATE: July 30,2010
SUBJECT: Quarterly Program Measures Report, Year to Date June 30, 2010

*This is only a snippet of the 8 pages*

The following are some of the highlights for the year from the Quarterly Report, but are certainly not all inclusive. We do recommend that the report and each program be reviewed, particularly with respect to "Department Initiative Status Reports", the "Summary of Year to Date Results", and Project Updates for the various programs. There are too many items too be covered in this summary, and everyone's level of interest in the various programs and departments varies.

Executive Summary:

031 - 911 Emergency Number (page 146): Commissions being paid by Telus and Bell Mobility total $14,000 to date. Interviewing and hiring for vacant 911 positions was completed in a timely manner and in consultation with the RCMP. One employee on long-term disability resigned. 911 services is fUlly staffed at this time. The RCMP will reimburse the RDCO for the salaries of the four staff seconded to the Olympics. 911 Service Agreements have been updated and forwarded to participating Regional Districts for renewal. Information is being collected and researched for Primary Services Answering Point. Phone levy option is being explored.

040 - Crime Stoppers (Page 148): Crime Stopper Coordinator hired effective February 1, 2010. Assistant Crime Stopper Coordinator hired April 201 O. Contract awarded to DotCom Media for upgrades to the Crime Stoppers website. The Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers Society will be contributing funds in the amount of $10,000 for this project. Website is in the final stages of re-development. The 12th Annual Community Fund Raising Golf Tournament at Sunset Ranch Golf Club raised $19,000. The Crime Stoppers Society has qonated a specialized video camera to the Video Production Students at Rutland Senior Secondary to produce a series of DVD productions on Graffiti, Drug Use and Cyber Bullying:

041 - Victims Services (Page 150): New clients were 88% adult with the remaining twelve percent consisting of seniors, youth and children. Of the new clients, 11% were female. 56% of Victim Services Clients are from RCMP referrals; 31% of Callouts are due to fatalities. National Victims of Crime Awareness Week occurred April 18 - 24. Domestic Violence designated support worker proposal submitted to the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. Follow-up meeting scheduled for the third quarter. Presentations were done for UBCO Social Work students, OUC Human Service Worker and Criminal Justice Studies students. Staff attended workshops on Managing Stress, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum and Critical Incident Response.

042 - Regional Crime Prevention (page 154): Block Watch Crime Prevention Program continues to be promoted. Operation Wrap III is in progress with WFN and utility boxes in their jurisdiction. New Crime Prevention Program introduced, BC Securities Commission Tipsters Program. In the process of implementing an Emergency Preparedness Plan for Peachland, complete with Volunteer Team Leader and Policy &Procedures Manual to assist the Community.

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Vernon investigates municipal policing
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Story: 56056 - Jul 31, 2010

Escalating costs associated with the RCMP has prompted Vernon City Council to investigate a municipal police force.

A report should be ready for council very shortly.

Councillor Jack Gilroy says the city will do a study on costs paid by other cities in the province who have a municipal police force.

However, Gilroy cautions residents that this does not mean the city is unhappy with the job the RCMP has been doing.

"We're very happy with the RCMP, it's just that the city is getting tired of paying all the costs for everything," says Gilroy.

"Not just the RCMP but the civic employees are paid for by the City of Vernon and no one seems to want to assist us in all the employees we have to hire to keep the RCMP going."

The City of Vernon currently pays 90 per cent of policing costs while the province picks up the other 10%.

Vernon also hires all the support staff for the RCMP.

"No one seems to want to give us any money for that. We do that for the whole North Okanagan."

Gilroy says the new RCMP contract, due to come into affect in 2012 will put a real strain on the Vernon budget.

"The last time I was at talks in Vancouver they showed us a scale and if we sign that contract in 2012 the way it is now our entire budgets in six or seven years will go strictly to the RCMP. We won't be able to do anything else."

He says the province seems to be getting the message but adds the feds are the ones stuck on the 90/10 split, something he says the cities simply can't afford anymore.

While the city is investigating costs, Gilroy reiterates that council is not unhappy with the performance of the local RCMP.

"We don't want to lose them because they are our Canadian Police Force but we have to put a handle on the taxes."

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Okanagan mayors rue policing costs
Castanet.net - by Contributed - Story: 55925 - Jul 23, 2010

The four member municipalities of the Inter municipal Services Advisory Board—Kelowna, West Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton—are calling for a new approach to the way the B.C. Government passes on costs for RCMP policing.

Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd, West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater, Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton and Vernon Mayor Wayne Lippert will ask their Councils to endorse a resolution, which would go to the Union of B.C. Municipalities Conference in Whistler September 27 to October 1, calling on the Provincial Government to consult with local government prior to adjusting policing costs.

The four mayors agreed policing expenses should not come as a surprise to municipal governments and a more cooperative approach would eliminate sudden charges in future and fit in better with municipalities’ budget planning processes.

The mayors discussed one notable example of surprising increases in policing costs, which occurred last fall when the Province told municipalities they would be responsible for additional charges for the RCMP’s record keeping system—called Police Records Information Management Environment or PRIME.

The cost of PRIME doubled from $500 to $1,000 per member inside of one year and the B.C. Public Safety and Solicitor General’s Ministry passed on those costs to municipalities with little warning or explanation.

The increased costs in Kelowna, for example, amounted to an additional $100,000, which is nearly equal to the cost of hiring one new police officer.

The UBCM resolution would call on the Province to work with municipalities to implement a consultation process, whereby local government would have input and adequate notice into policing cost adjustments.

Mayor Shepherd also committed to continue to address the issue of policing costs through a UBCM focus group she participates in.

The group has been established to provide feedback to Federal and Provincial Government representatives who negotiate with RCMP.

Meanwhile, for the first time, the four municipalities have also made a joint purchase as a result of their ongoing cooperation through their Interminable Services Agreement.

The municipalities arranged a cash back discount for stationary through Staples/Corporate Express. The discount is calculated based on the amount of office supplies purchased and will therefore vary by municipality.

The agreement is for five years, however, the contract can be reviewed annually and each municipality has the option to continue or opt out of the deal.

The City of Vernon and the District of West Kelowna were also able to use the Joint Purchasing Agreement to purchase two vehicles this year, one for each municipality.

The Inter municipal Services Advisory Board also discussed a variety of other issues including:

•The possibility of an Inter municipal Emergency Planning Agreement

•Valley-wide transit initiatives

•Future improvements to Highway 97

•Landfill management and tipping fees

•Control measures for Canada Geese

•Climate change

•Liquor control policies

•Concerns related to the potential removal of rail lines

The Inter municipal Services Advisory Board was created September 16, 2008 and is made up of the Mayors and Chief Administrative Officers of each municipality, who meet regularly to work cooperatively on a variety of issues of mutual concern.

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Lower Mainland municipalities want lower RCMP costs
Straight.com - July 15, 2010 - By Carlito Pablo

Richmond councillor Greg Halsey-Brandt says municipalities serviced under contract by the RCMP should get a break in terms of policing costs.

Halsey-Brandt insists that the current funding formula must be changed, with either the provincial or federal government absorbing more expenses.

“Last year, our RCMP cost [in Richmond], I think, was a 10-percent increase overall,” Halsey-Brandt told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. “It’s so hard to sustain other programs when you’ve got increased costs like that. You end up having to cut back on other things to cover the RCMP or reduce programs or raise taxes more than you want to. It looks like that’s going to happen again this year for us, so it’s not a very pleasant prospect.”

Under the current RCMP contract, which is due to expire on March 31, 2012, municipalities with populations in excess of 15,000 pay 90 percent of total expenses, excluding overtime, with the federal government picking up the remaining 10 percent of the tab.

Municipalities with populations ranging from 5,000 to 15,000 pay 70 percent of the cost of RCMP services.

But according to a June 20, 2010, memorandum prepared by the secretariat of the Union of B.C. Municipalities, local governments may not find significant relief from the ongoing renegotiation of the RCMP contract.

The report noted that back in 2007, “federal negotiators received approval from Cabinet to maintain the current cost shares and population thresholds.”

Municipalities, according to the document, wanted the funding formula of 90-10 and 70-30 adjusted to 70-30 and 50-50.

Instead, the B.C. negotiating team has proposed that the federal government modify the cost-sharing agreement covering cadet training, regional integrated teams, divisional administration, complaints process, and police dogs from the present 90-10 to 70-30.

The memorandum also stated that an “agreement in principle” for a new 20-year RCMP contract is expected by fall.

Former Mountie Kevin Begg, now assistant deputy minister and director of police services with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, heads the committee representing B.C. and seven other provinces in the contract-renewal talks with the federal government. Begg declined an interview request by the Straight. The ministry wouldn’t make available any officials who could talk on the record about the negotiations.

Halsey-Brandt noted that many municipal officials are frustrated over the lack of public input into the contract talks. “We’re asking for more transparency,” he said. “We’re just the ones that pay the money and have no information on it and no real say on it.”

Results of an Angus Reid survey in December 2009 showed a steep decline in the public-approval rating of the RCMP in B.C. The poll indicated that 61 percent of British Columbians reported that their “confidence in the internal operations and leadership of the RCMP has decreased over the last two years”.

Doug MacKay-Dunn, a former Vancouver police officer and now a councillor in the District of North Vancouver, noted that many local-government officials are worried that their councils may not have enough time to review the terms of their new contracts with the RCMP.

“We’re concerned that they don’t wait until the last minute to jam it through and say, ‘Oh, well, we don’t have much time. We have to make these decisions now,’ ” MacKay-Dunn told the Straight by phone.

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District axes community policing
By Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star - March 26, 2008

Coldstream’s Community Policing Office has closed its doors for good.

In a current review of services in Coldstream, the community policing service has been terminated.

“We’re trying to trim back somewhere,” said Mayor Gary Corner. “We feel there’s some good services community policing provides but it just didn’t really work with Coldstream.”

The community policing was costing the district approximately $120,000 a year, plus the cost of the building and maintenance.

With the closure of the office comes the termination of a key figure – office co-ordinator Kate Leeder.

“Kate has been let go, it’s got nothing to do with her job or anything like that,” said Corner. “She’s definitely got some expertise.”

Now the district is looking at what programs Coldstream does benefit from (such as speed watch and citizens on patrol) and is requesting continuation of these services from the Vernon Safe Communities Unit.

The office space will also not go to waste, with a possibility of using it for district staff, said Corner.

“It will definitely be used, it’ll be used by our municipality.”

With the community policing cost savings and possibly further savings as council continues to review all other services, Coldstream taxes are also slated to drop.

Taxpayers are currently facing a 9.17 per cent tax hike, and although an exact number isn’t known yet, taxes will be dropping.

“That will be dropping no matter what,” said Corner. “We’ll definitely bring that down.”

With the closure of the community policing office, residents are reminded that they will continue to receive RCMP services out of the Vernon RCMP detachment.

Any issues related directly to community policing can be forwarded to the District of Coldstream for review and action as required.

 

Rural residents involved in policing
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - March 23, 2008

Residents of the North Okanagan’s rural communities are being consulted directly on policing services.

The North Okanagan Regional District recently launched the Safe Communities program for the five electoral areas and that has resulted in several meetings with groups in the BX, Cherryville, rural Lumby and rural Enderby.

“We are trying to see what programs they have a need for,” said Kathryn Birnie, regional program co-ordinator.

“It’s all about building relationships with them.”

Among the groups Birnie has met with are community clubs and schools in all of the communities so they know that she is available to help them with policing issues.

“I give them information so they can see where we can work together,” she said.

Among the matters arising is whether there is a need for a Block Watch initiative in parts of rural Lumby.

“In our community, there’s a great deal of interest to participate (in Safe Communities), particularly with the seniors,” said Rick Fairbairn, rural Lumby director.

Birnie works closely with the RCMP detachments in Lumby, Enderby and Vernon.

And Insp. Steve McVarnock, officer in charge of the North Okanagan RCMP, says the new Safe Communities program fits in well with the force’s 2008 priorities of crime reduction, communications and road safety.

“I see an opportunity with Kathryn and the electoral areas to drive home those priorities,” he said.

“We are not working in isolation but together.”

McVarnock expects the RCMP may about some criminal and safety issues as a result of Birnie’s interaction with the public.

“She will link with the local detachment commanders and say this is a concern or something of interest and they can tailor their activities around that,” he said.

The North Okanagan’s five electoral areas are geographically large, but Birnie is prepared to meet the needs of residents.

“With a vehicle and laptop computer, I am mobile and accessible.”

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Local governments, both large and small, have approached the provincial government with concerns that the funding system for police services in British Columbia is unfair.

http://www.civicnet.bc.ca/policefinance/

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Boucherie Road ] Kaleden ] Kelowna ] Naramata ] Oyama ] Peachland ] Pentiction ] Summerland ] Vernon ] West Kelowna ] Westside Road ] Winfield ]

You will find local North Westside Road BC businesses, services, free classifieds, local arts and crafts, vacation waterfront rentals, plus much more located near and around Okanagan Lake BC.  We will be adding to this site, so come back and check it often.

Blue Divider Line

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