The sergeant of the Kimberley RCMP detachment says a staffing shortage is taking their toll.
Sergeant Chris Newel says a number of injuries and a drop in members is creating pressure for their members.
He says officers have been forced to work up to eight days in a row throughout the summer and people are starting to feel burnt out.
“It is putting a lot of stress on the members. We’re trying to maintain a quality level of service throughout the community and area. We’re down and lacking in proactive patrols,” Newel says. “It also puts a huge strain when we have special events or when a member is injured or sick.”
Newel points to JulyFest as an example of the heavy workload.
“A lot of members ended up working six, seven, eight days in a row in order to assist and cover over the JulyFest weekend. That puts a lot of stress on the membership,” Newel says. “So we try to get them out when we need them and give them a break when we can..”
He says the city is also seeing an overall increase in calls for service, creating more work for available staff.
“Summer is definitely our highest call volume, but I noticed our quarter just before, April to June, that was actually higher than July to September 2016 and of course, higher than the year before,” Newel says. “So we have noticed a jump.”
Newel adds there is light at the end of the tunnel, with an officer returning from medical leave mid-August.
Corporal Kate Bamber also joined the detachment recently and another new member is expected to start August 2nd.
– Kimberley RCMP Sergeant, Chris Newel
– Jeff Johnson