Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP’s newest member emitted a wet dog smell when being introduced to Vernon council Monday.
That’s because Jagger, a German shepherd and the newest police service dog, showed his moves earlier in the day, helping to chase a suspect running through a creek.
Jagger, three, comes to the local detachment from Portage la Prairie, Man., and is under the care and supervision of handler Const. Kevin Rutten.
“He’s a bit of a teddy bear when he’s not working, but when he’s working he has a land shark ability,” said Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP Supt. Shawna Baher of Jagger, who is replacing Cain, now retired.
Baher was at council to present her 2019 first quarter report and announce the detachment’s policing priorities for 2019-2022.
“For the next three years, we will focus on enhanced public safety, community connections and road safety,” said Baher, who will release the plan to stakeholders in the coming weeks.
“In support of our priorities, we will implement various initiatives and track our results with specific performance measures including Criminal Code cases, which this quarter increased 1.79 per cent, and property crime, which decreased 2.26 per cent.”
Coun. Scott Anderson asked Baher if her detachment will be concentrating on things like people doing drugs in the open.
“Yes, the members have been told and my guidance to them is in relation to open use,” she said. “It’s a very complex problem, obviously addiction, but I’m very vocal about this in any forum that I speak, addiction often leads to behaviour and behaviour has to be addressed no matter what. If someone is openly using in downtown or anywhere else, the members are going and dealing with that individual, stopping them or arresting them.
“One of the things we’re trying to deter is open usage in the downtown area.”
Another item the local detachment is currently dealing with is a rash of bike thefts. Baher said she’s looking at bringing in a program which helps to identify bikes being stolen, a bait bike (similar to the bait car program) and starting a mountain bike force where six officers are currently being trained on mountain bikes.