Focus consistent in policing plan

Last year’s top priorities for the Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP detachment are this year’s top priorities.

Last year’s top priorities for the Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP detachment are this year’s top priorities.

The local detachment will focus on the areas of crime reduction, communication and road safety in 2011-12 with a number of initiatives and programs developed for each priority.

“Each one of these initiatives has one or more work action plans in place to ensure our employees are fully engaged in policing activities targeting our community priorities,” said detachment Supt. Reg Burgess.

The detachment’s strategic plan is developed following consultation with clients and community stakeholders. The process, said strategic planning officer Cpl. Gerry Kovacs, anticipates the pressures and opportunities the detachment is going to face in the coming year.

The information the police gain from stakeholders is invaluable.

“We have to work with our elected officials and police work is just not done willy-nilly,” said Kovacs. “We have a plan. We consult with these people and consult with our people internally to develop a strategy of what we’re going to deliver.”

Burgess and Kovacs said the detachment kept hearing over and over from their stakeholders to continue focussing on impaired drivers and road checks, drugs and drug enforcement, and to continue shutting down marijuana grow operations.

High visibility is also a stakeholder priority.

“We understand that and we consistently work to get that high visibility situation where people can see the cop on the beat,” said Burgess. “Visibility in the rural areas was an issue and I think we’ve addressed that. But people in downtown want to see us, the City of Vernon wants to see our members.

“People want to see us,” added Kovacs. “We’re making an effort to be seen on the water in ways they’ve never seen before. They want to see us on the highways. People want to see us walking downtown and they want to see us in Armstrong, Lumby, Enderby and Falkland.”

One of the issues the detachment faces in providing high visibility is manpower shortage. Burgess calls the shortage “a reality, one that the detachment must adapt and engage our partners to achieve the best service possible with the resources available.”

Despite a shortage of officers, Burgess is confident the detachment can deliver on its strategic plan, and that, so far, things are off to a good start.

“I am confident that with the continued support and assistance of our communities, the Vernon-North Okanagan detachment remains positioned to meet any future demands for policing services,” said Burgess.