North Shore RCMP office improves relationship with business community during tough summer

FILE PHOTO: Kamloops RCMP Cpl. Jodi Shelkie proudly stands in front of the new North Shore policing station just after it opened.

KAMLOOPS - Businesses on the North Shore are reporting improvements with police relations after the opening of the new RCMP office.

North Shore Business Improvement Association executive director Steve Puhallo says the flow of communication has improved between police and North Shore and Brocklehust businesses.

“It’s a great symbiotic relationship,” he says. “Because of that, response times reflect that.”

The office opening came at a good time, with the businesses feeling the effects of what Puhallo calls a “very hard summer.”

“We’re seeing a new element; harder, tougher,” he says. “It’s as bad as they’ve seen it in ten years and having the North Shore police office — it’s really changed how that gets managed.”

While the police efforts have been strong during the summer, Puhallo hopes they’ll follow the criminal "element" as it’s dispersed throughout town, creating a whack-a-mole situation. He says 10 years ago police didn’t and it resulted in years of work in the North Shore to pull the community back to where it is now.

“For us, this summer, we’ve been able to keep our heads above water,” he says.

The issue isn’t just police enforcement though, social agency engagement is important, Puhallo says.

“The RCMP have been clear we can’t enforce our way out of this and we agree with that,” he says. “Our biggest concern are not those seeking help, it’s those they prey upon those seeking help.”

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