By Lyonel Doherty
The province has provided funding for an additional 30 police cadets this year, and the Oliver RCMP is getting one of them.
Detachment commander Sgt. Blaine Gervais confirmed that they did receive one additional member position (filled by one of the cadets).
“This new member after completion of the recruit field training will be fully operational by the summer,” Gervais said.
He noted the Oliver detachment will have a total of 10 members by summertime.
In a letter to Town council, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said the new RCMP cadets will be allocated to the “highest risk, greatest need detachments.” He noted that funding includes the creation of a Provincial Support Team consisting of four mobile officers who will help detachments experiencing resourcing pressures.
Oliver Mayor Martin Johansen said the extra officer is good news, noting one of the Town’s focus areas is to incease RCMP resources or reduce the workload.
“I’m confident all these measures together will help to reduce crime and improve public safety in Oliver.”
Farnworth acknowledged the Town of Oliver’s desire for an additional resource (shared with other detachments) focused on drug enforcement services. He noted that sharing resources helps stretch budgets and reduces duplication.
The minister also acknowledges the Town’s request for more resources for its victim services program, which is described as “overwhelmed.”
Farnworth said the ministry provides $41,664 annually to Oliver for this program (18 service hours per week), and in 2018/19 provided the Town with an 11 per cent increase in funding to address service delivery pressures. But the Community Safety and Crime Prevention Committee has recommended the Town apply for funding for additional hours to address the increase in case files.
Speaking about the Okanagan Correctional Centre, Farnworth addressed supports for individuals released from the facility. He noted the importance of supporting vulnerable inmates with access to health care, substance use services, housing and employment.
In Oliver, BC Corrections works closely with Desert Sun Counselling to provide these people with access to various services. Farnworth said the individuals who leave the correctional centre are provided with transportation back to their home communities. They are also given a two-week supply of their prescription medication.