Trail RCMP saw a drop in vehicle break-ins and mental-health related calls in 2022, but an increase in assaults. The overall call volume was similar to the previous year.
Sgt. Mike Wicentowich said the most serious incident of the year was two officers being shot at near the hospital. Francis Paradis is now charged with attempted murder.
“We had a very close call with two of our officers whose quick action and bravery turned a potentially deadly tragedy into a successful arrest of the alleged criminal,” Wicentowich said in a news release.
Police also investigated a car bombing in Montrose that left a man seriously injured.
“An explosion of a bomb in Montrose rocked all of us and showed our citizens that organized crime is everywhere today,” Wicentowich said.
By category the statistics looked like this:
|Theft from motor vehicles||165||75|
|Motor vehicle accidents||156||111|
|Fatal motor vehicle accidents||6||6|
|Motor vehicle tickets||n/a||623|
|Mental health calls||346||229|
|Suspicious persons, vehicles, occurrences||949||746|
Wicentowich attributed the decline in thefts from vehicles and property crime to people being more proactive by putting items away and locking their doors.
“We really appreciate it, because that’s 100 fewer incidents of minor crimes we have to respond to. We can hopefully take that energy and focus on other areas we think are more important.”
However, he said some of the decline could also be attributed to people returning to work following COVID and spending less time at home and reporting suspicious incidents in their neighborhoods.
The decline in mental health calls was thanks to a meeting RCMP had with Interior Health to discuss when police are called in. At one time, seven per cent of the detachments responses were to Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, which is home to Daly Pavilion, which treats adults with mental illness.
However, now the hospital’s own security primarily responds and only calls the police if they need additional support.
Drug investigations were down substantially, and Wicentowich said it will be interesting to see the effect of the impending decriminalization of small amounts of drugs for personal use. As of Jan. 31, it will not be a crime to possess 2.5 grams or less of opioids, cocaine, meth or ecstasy.
Wicentowich said often the discovery of a small amount of drugs leads to bigger discoveries by officers, so they will have to develop new tools to investigate drug trafficking.
Although the overall call volume and workload was not much different between 2021 and 2022, the Trail detachment has been stretched thin, with limited staffing.
Wicentowich is optimistic that will change this year. The detachment recently added two new officers, and another new recruit starts this month. Others who have been off on disability may return.
“We’re looking for a bit of a refresh this year, getting some new members, and hopefully some transfers. We’re hoping by the end of the year we’re back up to almost full strength.”