The Whistler RCMP were kept busy last weekend as thousands of American students from Washington, Oregon and California descended on the village for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
According to Sergeant Steve Wright, 43 individuals were arrested over the weekend, including 12 on Friday, 15 on Saturday and 16 on Sunday. Most incidents were for being drunk in public or causing a disturbance, in which alcohol was a factor. The RCMP also wrote 120 tickets over the weekend, including 93 for open liquor and 15 for urinating in public.
As well, they answered 125 calls for service, including 25 noise complaints. There were four assault complaints for fighting, but none of them were major.
As well, RCMP helped hotels evict the occupants of five rooms.
Despite the large number of calls, the RCMP were well-prepared with seven additional officers from the Lower Mainland patrolling the village on Friday and Saturday, and eight on Sunday.
Given the number of people in Whistler, Sgt. Wright says the weekend went smoothly and that the majority of people were well-behaved. He also gave high marks to local bars and nightclubs for managing the situation.
"The bars were busy, but it was well-managed," said Sgt. Wright. "We've been meeting with the bar association once a month, which is an opportunity for us to review our expectations with bar staff. There was also a liquor inspector out on Friday, and I can say they were well-pleased. The bars were not overcrowded, and there were none of the types of issues we've seen in the past."
The RCMP has been more proactive in responding to long weekends, and when tour operators are involved bringing people to town they even meet the buses and let visitors know the laws concerning things like open alcohol. That wasn't the case with the most recent long weekend, which wasn't an organized event, but Sgt. Wright said RCMP are always looking for ways to get the word out.
"Some people come from places where it's legal to have open alcohol, so it's important for us to let them know that the laws are different," said Sgt. Wright.
The next U.S. long weekend is President's Day, Feb. 16, which Sgt. Wright says is usually busier with families. However, he says they will have additional officers on staff that weekend as well.