RCMP hold public meeting in Port

  • Jun. 18, 2013 7:00 p.m.

by Eric O’Higgins-The RCMP turned out in force last Thursday (June 13) in Port Clements, hard as it is to imagine an event in peaceful Port that would need such a strong showing. The mystery was solved quickly, however, as Sgt. Blake Ward introduced five of his nine-member detachment, based in Masset, to a group of Port residents at a public meeting to discuss policing issues. These nine have to cover an area stretching from the Tlell bridge out to the fishing lodges and what seems to be a big detachment is stretched pretty thin. All-day coverage required, plus days off and holidays, plus . . . well, you get the idea. Sgt. Ward was quick to acknowledge the problem of quick response, when it comes to getting RCMP members to Port Clements: “The reality is that we’re going to be an hour — you as a homeowner have to be thinking about how to protect yourself.” Joan Hein raised that question, which is particularly sharp in a community with no cell phone service. The sergeant suggested that people need to rely on neighbours in a small community. Ms Hein said she was worried about finding a stranger in her house, but on the other hand said her mother, Betty Dalzell, said she couldn’t remember such an incident in her years in town. In the last fiscal year, the RCMP responded to 1,482 calls in the detachment area, with a total of 95 calls coming from Port. All the Port calls involved the same five people, and included checks for curfew orders and probation orders, Sgt. Ward said. So the locals aren’t a problem but the police are not so sure about contract workers coming into town. “These individuals come here and basically think they can take charge with bullying because they think there is no policing,” Sgt. Ward said. (Our tree planters left the islands that night on the ferry and seemed to have been a quiet and cheerful lot.) Sgt. Ward was backed up on Thursday by an impressive group, including first year community constable Patrick Higgins, and newcomers Cory Abbott, Matt Zuccollo and Glen Brac, with two more constables soon to arrive. The RCMP depends on information from the public since members can’t be everywhere at once, Sgt. Ward told Port residents. “Don’t be afraid to call in,” he said, adding that the RCMP does not broadcast names of callers over the radio. Initiatives by the detachment are drug policing; crime reduction; and traffic, Sgt. Ward said. The RCMP will be doing on-the-water patrols for at least 11 days during July and August.