With the 150 anniversary of the RCMP on May 23, Detachment Commander Sgt. Gerry Walker said he is proud to be an RCMP officer with 22 years of experience with the force.
He explained to The Northern View policing services in Prince Rupert are contracted. The city can choose to have the RCMP or create their own municipal force. The RCMP has been the policing organization in the city since August 1095 when they merged with the B.C. Provincial Police.
There are two main law enforcement units under his management, the Rural/Coastal Unit and the City Unit. As well as the administrators and support services such as court administration workers and victims support.
Out of a full staff of 46 officers, 13 are assigned to the Coastal/Rural team, which includes the areas of Port Edward, Lax Kw’alaams, Kitkatla, Metlakatla, Kelmtu and Hartley Bay. Officers reach the communities by boat and are posted in the locations on one-week rotations.
Maintaining vessels and transportation is a vital part of policing. There are 332 marine assets, of which Prince Rupert has three boats to assist the Coastal Division. With more than 12,000 RCMP road vehicles, there are 11 assigned to the local detachment, with more in the outlying areas, as well as unmarked vehicles.
Air policing in the local area includes two pilots and a mechanic for the float plane.
Across Canada, the organization has 55 armoured assets, 400 special purpose vehicles, 34 aircraft and 329 inland water transports and other patrol vessels.
There are 134 dog teams made up of canines and handlers and 122 service horses.
Walker said over the year services Prince Rupert has seen different divisions of policing, such as a federal unit and major crimes, a drug section and port integrity. Many have have moved down south or to Prince George, he said.
“Policing keeps the community safe … without police in the community I’d hate to see where it would go. Unfortunately, not everyone follows the rules,” he said.
“It would be nice if we didn’t have people doing bad things or have victims. But unfortunately, we have serious things happen … if we can protect someone from that happening to them or hold someone accountable, that’s what we try do to.”
Quotes from community members for the 150th anniversary:
I can’t imagine a world without the RCMP. They have been a critical part of protecting our community for decades. In that time, hundreds of men and women have served us. All too often, they experience a darker underbelly of our community that most will never see. I’ve seen firsthand how they do it with grace and compassion. To those who serve us now, and to those who have served in the past… thank you – Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond
Congratulations to the RCMP as they commemorate this anniversary. Police officers, like other first responders, are called on to do difficult work in the service of others. Today, we recognize the support they provide in our communities – Skeena Bulkley MP Taylor Bachrach
Thank you to those working hard to keep people and communities safe – North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice
We, as a family, appreciate the Prince Rupert RCMP presence within the community and interactions that promote positive experiences. For example, having staff present at the Safeway over Christmas, where parents and children were able to interact, left a good impression. Thank you for this – Prince Rupert resident’s comment from recent policing survey.
Super friendly. I had just moved here in the summer when the RCMP had a check stop set up in between Rupert and Port Edward. I had my licence checked and while chatting with the officer. I mentioned I had just moved to town. He gave me recommendations of sightseeing and decent places to eat. I had such a great interaction with the officer. My only regret is that I can’t for the life of me remember his name. Really. good bunch of guys you have here. From the bottom of my biker heart, thank you for what you do – Prince Rupert resident’s comment from recent policing survey.
I have noticed an increase in patrol activity over the past year (welcomed) and a more visible presence in the community. Keep it up as when there is no presence, there is more crime – Prince Rupert resident’s comment from recent policing survey.
K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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