A Mirror Q&A with DC RCMP Staff Sergeant about funding and service levels

Another from our 'DC Tough Cuts Budget 2019' files

The Mirror had a chat with Dawson Creek RCMP Staff Sergeant Damon Werrell about funding, service levels, the appropriate amount of RCMP for DC, and more.  

In general - is losing 12 percent of officers a good idea for this detachment as it relates to service levels?

Our service delivery model is based on the effective and efficient deployment of our resources to address the policing priorities determined by the stakeholders and contract partners. A reduction of three regular members (or 12%) would require us to review our delivery model and make the necessary changes.

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How is a city review going to look at actual work and RCMP service levels? What do they know beyond line items in a budget, or line items in the RCMP report?

A comprehensive presentation has been provided to the city council outlining current crime trends and the Dawson Creek RCMP regular member workload vs the provincial average and five-year average. The presentation outlined expected service reductions and anticipated impacts if the reduction of regular members were to proceed.


What would be in the impact of losing three officers? How would losing three affect DC work in the detachment? What about more HTA and rural working officers?

Current service delivery may be impacted. Pro-active policing efforts would have to be reviewed and our concern is that we may be reduced to a reactive-policing response model.


What would you like to hear from the public March 11 at the open house at the Encana Centre about the City of Dawson Creek's 2019 budget.? 

We encourage the community to attend and voice their opinions, whatever those opinions may be. It is our police service for our community.


How many officers would be recommended for DC and area at the detachment based on where five-year stats are headed and trends?

The City of Dawson Creek has funded 25 regular-member positions since July 2013.


What is the current per officer caseload - and what would it be with three less in the detachment?

We are reviewing the data now and will assess the change if a decision is made.


What would be an appropriate number of cases per officer?

 (I am) unable to provide you with a number as it is a complex issue. 


As the Staff Sgt., how many members would you recommend for your own detachment - in DC and rural - all in

 Resourcing levels are determined in consultation with our contract partners.


Do these files that come in through the door affect officers own more investigative files? Do more serious and in depth investigations suffer because officers are less in number and have to deal with more case files?

Dawson Creek RCMP will continue to serve the community of Dawson Creek and surrounding area to the best of our ability with the resources available.  Public safety and security is our priority.


If the decision was made by the city to lose three officers, or five, or any amount, would they be choosing from where? (Highway, in DC, more in office staff etc.)

A complete review of our overall operational response will need to be conducted to determine the area from which a reduction of three regular members would occur.


Has there been any consideration or discussion from our city council about auxiliary constables? Would they help mitigate costs, but not a loss of person power?

Dawson Creek detachment does have one auxiliary constable. Auxiliary constables do not take files and for that reason do not reduce caseloads-per-member.


Above how many, where officers go, etc., can you speak to the ability to keep members in DC (or any detachment really) for successions, to gain that all important historic and institutional knowledge of areas, etc. Hard to do with either a revolving door or cuts over your shoulder.

Several of Dawson Creek’s current members have been stationed here in Dawson Creek for several years, many of those have been here for over 10 years. Typically members are expected to serve at least five years in Dawson Creek before they are eligible for transfer to another location.  


I’ve heard you speak about the proliferation of mental health calls - and I realize the RCMP have to pick up the phone when any calls - but are there other calls that take up officer time that are really not in the scope of the RCMP? 

Dawson Creek RCMP respond to a wide variety of call types.  We provide appropriate responses, with the primary focus on public safety.


Esquimalt is going though a similar but different scenario on the island with policing and municipal powers that be - can you speak to this one as far as how the relationship between the for every staff sgt. reporting to a municipal council is key?

I believe my relationship with the City Council to be positive with collaborative communication and a shared interest in meeting the needs of the community members in Dawson Creek.


With the exception of general direction due to overall funding; why would any city council have any type of direction over any local RCMP - tactical at a wide level or specific - including down to details like the amount of officers needed in a community?

The City of Dawson Creek and the RCMP are bound to the MPSA (Municipal Police Service Agreement).  While the MPSA outlines our contractual requirements, the RCMP has direction over its operations.


There seems to be little in the way of enforcement of almost anything for governing bodies - from PRRD nor City of Dawson Creek really issuing any bylaw warnings or infraction tickets.  Does this lack of enforcement spill over to the DC RCMP with this type of municipal oversight?

It would be inappropriate for me to speak to the enforcement efforts of other agencies.


Our story about DC crime rate stats compared to similar sized municipalities: 


A City of Dawson Creek budget open house goes this Monday at Encana Events Centre. Be there. 7pm.


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