West Shore RCMP are encountering a number of obstacles in their daily operations and Langford’s protective services committee got a more in-depth look at some of those hurdles at Tuesday’s meeting.
“We’re going through some significant change,” said Insp. Larry Chomyn, the detachment’s officer in charge. “(But) change is good, because it’s refreshing.”
The department has seen a number of transitions due to retirements and promotions, but Chomyn expects that will start to stabilize, with a number of officers expected to stay on long term.
Typically, an engagement is a minimum three- to five-year commitment, but Chomyn noted many officers stationed in Langford will try to stay for upwards of 10 years.
With a number of higher-ranking officers moving on, he added that he’s excited about the skill level of new members and the interest the department receives whenever there’s an opening. “There’s a demand to come here,” he said.
All staff members, current and incoming, will have their hands full with cases, Chomyn said during a briefing of the committee on West Shore RCMP’s fourth quarter (October to December) and 2016 mayor’s report.
With false alarms and traffic complaint calls taking up a lot of the detachment’s time, he noted, a study has been undertaken to determine how to free up officers’ time to get them out in the community and fighting crime.
With that in mind, officers have been working hard to combat property crimes, with regular curfew checks on repeat and prolific offenders part of that routine.
“It keeps them on their toes when they don’t know we’re coming … We put a lot of energy and effort into that,” Chomyn said.
Some of that effort may be paying off, with 2016 stats showing a decline in most property crimes across the West Shore.
Chomyn also noted the detachment’s new dedicated traffic unit has been “up and running with two officers since January.” Officers are working with agencies around the region and the unit’s new supervisor just settled in this week after a move from the mainland.
While drug possession, trafficking and production cases were down across the West Shore in 2016, local RCMP officers are still seeing the effects of fentanyl in the communities.
In fact, Health Canada recently confirmed a new strain of fentanyl was found in cocaine seized in Langford.
“We’ve had to buy specialized equipment,” Chomyn said, adding that came with a roughly $21,000 price tag. The equipment will help keep officers safe while handling suspected illegal substances during the course of their investigations.
All officers also carry two doses of naloxone, he said, but due to the intricacies of their duties, these are in the form of nasal spray and not the injectable kind often carried by first responders. This form of the drug is also more expensive.
While there was some initial funding from the province, Chomyn noted the department is now responsible for replacing any used doses at a cost of about $80 a dose.