Drug dealers difficult to deal with, RCMP say

  • Jul. 24, 2009 3:00 p.m.

by Heather Ramsay-What are the RCMP doing about the crack dealers? Queen Charlotte resident Clyde Greenough raised the question after listening to Sgt. Rob Knapton’s report to the village council on July 20. It was Sgt. Knapton’s first time presenting a report on calls and crime statistics, something he intends to do on a quarterly basis in the future. He told Mr. Greenough that getting the public involved is key when it comes to drug dealers. “The biggest thing we can do is reduce demand,” he said. He explained that when drug dealers are arrested, they are usually back out the same day selling drugs. If they aren’t, then someone else steps in to take up the slack. He admitted that police as well as the public seem to know who the drug dealers are and his officers often park in front of their houses to do paperwork. But getting charges to stick is another matter. “It’s not just a police problem, it’s the public’s problem. We need them to get involved in solving it,” said Sgt. Knapton. He said the drug and organized crime officer has offered to come over to meet with local governments and the public if people want that as a first step. Meanwhile, calls to the Queen Charlotte RCMP detachment were down by 21 per cent between April and June, said Sgt. Knapton. Statistics show that one third of the calls for service come from Queen Charlotte, a quarter from Skidegate, and 15 per cent come from Sandspit. Other calls are administrative or come from other detachments. Of the criminal code cases dealt with by the detachment in that three-month period there were eight assault charges, five theft under $5,000, nine breach of peace and six drug-related offences. Sgt. Knapton said officers are trying to increase their use of the patrol vessel in order to have a presence on the water in summer and have been working hard with the youth at Sk’aadgaa Naay. Const. Chanin organized a bike rodeo at the school and raised money to purchase helmets for students. Three constables, Const. Chanin, Const. West and Const. Jamieson (assigned to Sandspit), along with Cpl. Wessel have left the community and are being or have been replaced by Cpl. Masch, Const. Wiendenman and Const. Hew. The Sandspit position has not been filled due to a rural policing review. Sgt. Knapton said a decision must be made on how to best provide policing to that community. Mayor Carol Kulesha thanked Sgt. Knapton for his report stating that this was the first time they have received a report like this from the RCMP. “It gives us a clearer picture of what goes on in the area.” Councillor Greg Martin noted that there has been a rash of street sign disappearances, including stop signs and a playground sign, which is not only expensive, but dangerous. Sgt. Knapton said his detachment had not received any calls about the signs and underlined the importance of reporting issues like this.