The Bella Coola RCMP Detachment is fully staffed with five full-time members since the positions were approved for funding in 2014.
“This is the first time we’ve had five members on active duty at the detachment,” said Sgt. Justin Thiessen.
The positions include Sgt. Thiessen, three constables, Cst. Ryan Marlatt, Cst. Scott Monuik, Cst. Cody Fisher, and an Aboriginal Police Officer, Cst. Janis Jones.
Sgt. Thiessen said the increase in staffing will allow the detachment to be more proactive in the community, focusing on crime and violence reduction strategies in an effort to curb problems before they stem out of control.
“We are enhancing some initiatives in the community around crime reduction and substance abuse,” said Thiessen. “A lot of our calls for service result from substance abuse, namely alcohol, which can result in anything from a minor disturbance to a violent assault.”
Thiessen said he’s working with local counselors, the Nuxalk Nation, and community corrections to deliver services that help people self-identify their need for assistance before it reaches a crisis point, as well as enhancing the community’s trust in the court system.
“We want to establish these services and leave a legacy for the next team of officers to follow up,” said Thiessen. “That way the community has ownership over the program and it is really theirs to continue.”