Mental health, domestic violence, road safety, and drug awareness/prevention are the four new strategic priorities the Kitimat RCMP plan tackling in the coming years. (Black Press file)

Mental health, domestic violence, road safety, and drug awareness/prevention are the four new strategic priorities the Kitimat RCMP plan tackling in the coming years. (Black Press file)

New strategic priorities in the works for Kitimat RCMP

Cracking down on the drug trade is one of four areas of concentration for the detachment this year

The Kitimat RCMP detachment is bringing in one more officer to bolster its crime reduction unit’s efforts to dampen drug-related crime and to assist in investigations.

Cracking down on the drug trade is one of four areas of concentration for the detachment this year, the others being mental health, domestic violence and road safety, said detachment commander Sgt. Graham Morgan a few weeks ago.

Although the four strategic priorities have different objectives, they are all interconnected with one another. Also, establishing individual themes gives the Kitimat RCMP the opportunity to achieve their main goal, to support the community’s needs and lower crime rates.

“We try and report on as much as we can, but in terms of those four [strategic priorites], they are the most common themes we see; the [themes] alone though aren’t crime types or categories though,” Staff Sergeant Graham Morgan said.

“For example, domestic violence can be a plate thrown against a wall because someone is upset with something, which isn’t categorized as an assault but can be categorized as domestic violence. There can also be scenarios where a couple breaks up and one of them gets harassed in communications which has a nexus to domestic violence,” Morgan said.

In terms of mental health, the Kitimat RCMP plan on establishing stronger communications with third-party partners who professionalize in mental health and mental health first aid.

“We also try and meet with [the Kitimat Community Health Unit at the Kitimat General Hospital] to increase communication with them and try and get the proper support for people in need of mental health services,” Morgan said.

For drug and investigation/awareness, the Kitimat RCMP plan on adding two officers to their crime reduction unit. These two officers will specifically be focusing on assisting crimes or investigations related to the strategic priorities, with their main focus on drug investigations and awareness.

“We also do drug awareness presentations in schools and we also have a harm reduction committee, which is partnered with Northern Health, where stakeholders come and discuss ways people can safely use drugs,” Morgan said.

However, with 24 officers currently working out the Kitimat RCMP detachment, the team needs to add one more member to the roster in order to spare two officers for their crime reduction unit.

In regards to domestic violence, the Kitimat RCMP is aware of the multitude of avenues that domestic violence can unfold and will be conducting additional internal and external training for situations regarding domestic violence.

“Internally will be enhancing risk assessment training and also trauma-informed practice. […] It’s important to recognize and be aware of past instances of trauma when speaking to somebody,” Morgan said.

The Kitimat RCMP will also be working with an interagency case assessment team and other partnerships to tackle domestic violence within the community.

As for road safety, the Kitimat RCMP will be focusing on impaired drivers and visibility issues, while enforcing road safety and regulations.

“Right now considering how many people are here in camps, […] we expect to see a lot more traffic,” Morgan said.

In May 2021, the Kitimat RCMP received a total of 401 calls, which is 99 calls higher than May 2020. That said, even with this year being Kitimat’s peak of industrial activity, there are not many instances where police have had to go to the industrial campsites.

“There’s a slight uptick but it’s not directly related to calls of service on sites, it’s more within the community. We’re also looking forward to the census coming out this year because I think there’s a lot more than 8,000 people here,” Morgan said.

The Kitimat RCMP’s will also be presenting their strategic priorities plans to the council during their regular council meeting on Monday, June 21.

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jacob.lubberts@northernsentinel.com