Police calls to Centre of Gravity way down this year

RCMP members from Alberta helped local police with security at Centre of Gravity 2016.
Image Credit: Steve White

KELOWNA – More than 80 people were arrested over the busy Centre of Gravity weekend in Kelowna, but overall it was quieter than past years.

Officers from the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, Street Enforcement Unit and other members witnessed everything from drug deals in port-o-potties to a drunk concert-goer smashing up a police cruiser, according to a RCMP media release.

Although Const. Jesse O’Donaghey says there were no major incidents over the weekend that sees tens of thousands of music and sports fans visit the city, there were 83 arrests.

“In one case, officers watched as an alleged drug dealer entered into a porta potty on site with suspected buyers to complete the drug transaction,” he says. “The suspect, a 28-year-old Kelowna man, was arrested upon exiting the portable toilet. He was found in possession of nearly 20 grams of suspected MDMA, a digital scale and a large amount of cash.”

O’Donaghey says some of those in attendance helped uniformed officers find suspected drug dealers, which in most cases turned out to be from the Lower Mainland.

Officers from outside the Okanagan were brought in to help with security this year, and members of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team found an Alberta man wanted on several outstanding warrants.

“The man, who provided false names to police, was arrested for obstruction and found in possession of a controlled substance contrary to conditions related to a court ordered recognizance,” he says. The man was held in police custody over the weekend.

A 19-year-old Invermere man also arrested after he allegedly interferred with officers arresting an intoxicated individual.

“The man who had flipped a table over, also smashed out the rear window of a marked police vehicle at the event,” O’Donaghey says. He was later released from police custody on a promise to appear in court in October facing potential charges of mischief.

Throughout the weekend officers also conducted enhanced enforcement along the highways and in Kelowna’s downtown core, and issued several immediate roadside prohibitions.

“Preliminary numbers show a decrease in the number of police calls for service in Kelowna, in the downtown core, including those related to public intoxication and drug related files,” O’Donaghey says. “During Centre of Gravity in 2015 Kelowna RCMP responded to approximately 384 calls for service in Kelowna’s downtown compared to approximately 257 in 2016."

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