By Lyonel Doherty
The Penticton RCMP is bang on in its approach to crime involving drug addicts and those suffering mental health issues.
It’s not rocket science to figure out that if you keep arresting addicts and throwing them in jail, you’ll be doing that for the rest of your life. But if you help them get the support they need, you should see a reduction in their ill deeds. The same can be said for mental health patients.
Kudos to Cst. James Grandy, Penticton’s new mental health intervention officer who, after three months on the job, is already making an impact. Grandy, a former member of the Oliver detachment, definitely has a tough portfolio to cover considering the unpredictable nature of the people he deals with. But his intervention is crucial, not only in crime prevention but in social healing.
RCMP brass cited a recent case where an individual suffering addiction and mental health problems was given the support he needed, which led to an end to his property crimes.
Meanwhile, a priority offender in Penticton is facing yet more drug charges after a violent struggle with police outside of the welfare office.
Officers from the Targeted Enforcement Unit observed the man in possession of heroin/fentanyl and placed him under arrest. But he resisted violently and assaulted the officers, according to Grandy.
The offender, who lives on the street, was subsequently taken into custody and charged with drug possession and assault.
Police say the man was arrested under similar circumstances in May and was recently released from jail.
Corporal Scott VanEvery said this is a prime example of what police don’t want in Penticton. He noted the man “has been a constant thorn in our side since his arrival.”
He needs to stop committing crime or simply leave, VanEvery said.
Let’s hope the presiding judge has an extra heavy book to throw at him.
But we aren’t holding our breath, especially after the recent acquittal of a 28-year-old man charged with several drug and weapon offences in Penticton.
Police attended a townhouse complex where a known drug house was located. The suspect was stopped for driving while prohibited, but a search of his vehicle turned up some cocaine, heroin, a shotgun and ammunition.
The court heard that the suspect’s DNA was found on one shotgun shell, and a partial match was found on the gun itself.
The man testified that he wasn’t aware that the gun and drugs were in the vehicle, which belonged to a friend.
While the judge wasn’t totally convinced of the man’s testimony, there was enough reasonable doubt in the case to let him go. So he got off, and get this: he now faces a different set of charges in Alberta.
Yes, the revolving courtroom door needs a heavy dose of WD40 because all that squeaking is getting on our nerves.