Should Kamloops get its own police force? No thanks

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
October 30, 2017 - 5:10am Updated: October 30, 2017 - 11:15am

KAMLOOPS — Kamloops RCMP spent a good part of their weekend thanking the people they serve.

It was all about the city’s latest shooting incident, and this time police were the target. Thankfully, nobody was hurt and an arrest was made after some 22 hours of intense police activity.

The entire community was on edge during this drama. Police checkpoints went up, residents of the G&M trailer court were evacuated, and several major roads were shut down, resulting in a bigger traffic snarl-up than usual during the Friday afternoon rush hour.

But residents remained patient through it all. At one point, a number of them brought hot meals to RCMP members who were putting in very long hours keeping the situation contained.

Police obviously appreciated it — in several press releases, the detachment mentioned the co-operation of the public and thanked them profusely.

It was, they said, a morale booster.

We often complain about police service, and occasionally it’s deserved. But the way in which the very dangerous and tense Friday-Saturday situation was handled by RCMP was a reminder of just how professional our national police force is, and how lucky we are to have them.

Every once in a while, there are calls for Kamloops to get rid of the RCMP and establish its own municipal force, the theory being that it would offer more responsive, community based policing.

Fact is, though, that while several B.C. cities have gone that route, municipal police forces are more expensive and lack the access to resources that the RCMP have.

For example, during this latest emergency, the Kamloops detachment was able to call upon Emergency Response Teams from Kelowna and the Lower Mainland.

Our RCMP put their lives on the line for us this past weekend. If not for them, it could have ended badly.

So, while it’s nice to be thanked, it’s we who should be saying thank-you, to them.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.