A conversation with DC RCMP Staff Sgt. Damon Werrell

A fully-staffed DC RCMP means expect to see more blue on the Mile Zero streets - although you may have to look hard.

“We are getting over our vacancies and are fully staffed again,” says DC Staff/Sgt. Damon Werrell.

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“We are working on proactive policing, drug warrants, really focused on organized crime.” 

While the DC general investigations unit collapsed in November 2017; Werrell says it’s good to get those members back. 

“We are at the point where were are a five person general investigations unit again.”

He says highway patrols, perhaps more visable in rural areas will remain, while a general municipal traffic position has been added as well now.

“With our numbers back, work on organized crime reduction files continues.“

Another ongoing concern is the DC RCMP office dealing with mental health calls.

“These are matters that are not necessarily crimes but we are called.“ Werrell says work is underway to establish a referral program that gets to the root of some of the mental health calls coming to the RCMP.

"Matters like mental health, public nuisance calls, addictions, need the addressing of problems and not just arresting,“ he says. 

Networking; while hosting inter agency meetings quarterly help close gaps and are first steps in a longer term plan, says Werrell. He notes traffic calls also take up a bulk of RCMP members time, but most often than not, the police are not need.

“For example there can be anywhere from 50 to 200 MVAs in a month. We get calls and respond, but I would estimate that 90 percent of them, fender benders and lighter collisions with no injuries or safety concerns, we have just been called but are not needed. We are developing business rules to apply to these situations - which ones will need RCMP attendance, and which ones will not.”

Werrell said it is time to reflect RCMP support saw during City of Dawson Creek budget deliberations, which saw councillors contemplating cutting Dawson Creek RCMP officer positions. 

“This community supports the RCMP, we saw this during budget time. We would like to live up to this community support.“

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