Penticton’s RCMP detachment is the busiest in the province, according to Supt. Ted De Jager.
De Jager said Thursday 2016 statistics from the Police Services Division of B.C. shows Penticton officers have 106 criminal cases per member. The provincial average is 56, and municipal average ranges in the low 20s or 30s.
He hopes people will keep that bigger picture in mind before they go on social media accusing police officers of “doing nothing.”
"My members see that. My members strap on their body armour every morning and they go out and serve this community, and that's the response they get,” De Jager said, adding many officers live and raise families in the community too.
“People that don't have an understanding of the criminal justice system, people who want the folks sitting on the library lawn or in Nanaimo Square loaded on a bus and sent off to another community, that's not what we do as police.”
And there’s more on officers’ plates: De Jager said police are currently dealing with eight child pornography investigations and three fraud cases totaling upwards of $1 million.
Commitments such as attending court, working on investigations and training keep police officers busy as well.
That doesn’t include the upwards of 60 or more calls for service they receive a day, as was the case on Wednesday.
And with 46 officers in the detachment – De Jager being one of those members – different roles and responsibilities mean only seven officers are on duty during a shift.
They’re assisted by the new drug enforcement unit, which has already been knocking in doors, said De Jager, referencing a major drug bust on Monday.
“Our targets, when we talk about drugs, are the dealers,” he emphasized.
“We need to get them off the street and into jail. The drug users – we don’t tolerate criminal behaviour from anybody – we would always respond to those calls for service, and we’d always attempt to resolve a criminal matter through the appropriate means.
“But at the end of the day … I don’t know what else you can take away from someone who has nothing.”
De Jager encouraged the public to visit him at the detachment or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org if they have any questions, concerns, or just want to talk.