April 20, 2016 - 1:00 PM
KAMLOOPS - Residents got to sound off on how they feel the RCMP is doing during a community forum last night, and speeding and North Shore crime were among the top concerns people want addressed.
Supt. Brad Mueller introduced the force’s leaders, who each in turn described their departments and duties to the roughly 20 community members in attendance at the McArthur Island meeting. The audience then got to ask their questions and voice concerns.
Community members voiced a variety of concerns, though most were concerned about speeding vehicles and crime on the North Shore, and asked police to do more.
One community member, Vern Morice, said he would like to see more police resources cracking down on speeders.
“We call it the Westsyde freeway, if you’re driving the speed limit you might as well be driving the other direction,” he said to Mueller during the public comment period.
Morice said he’d like to see more resources from the federal and provincial level to help local forces.
Mueller said the police are aware of the issues and actively trying to deal with them.
One of the issues Mueller brought forth was how many police officers are in Kamloops compared to how many are expected. He said the city funds for 130 officers, but there are fewer than 116. He told the audience this doesn’t affect the safety of citizens, but does mean some services are affected.
“There are shortages for all detachments,” he told the audience. “There are difficulties for recruiting, attracting people to the job.”
The issue isn’t a financial one he said, but comes from a national shortage of RCMP officers.
The force is funded by the city and federal governments. Kamloops puts in $20.5 million with Ottawa adding $3.5 million. Municipal tax payers are paying an average of $420.58 per a year, or $1.15 a day, for the Kamloops RCMP, according to a presentation at the meeting.
Mueller said this is the first forum of this type held since he joined the detachment and the last one was sometime in 2012.
“We’re at the point where we’re looking at establishing our priorities for the next couple years,” he said. “We thought it was time to reach out to the community again and engage them.”
Another police forum will be held at Hal Rogers Centre at Albert McGowan Park in Sahali on Thursday, April 21, at 7 p.m.
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