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RCMP address Pemberton’s Olympic security issues

RCMP commit to rebuilding process with Tribal Police

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By Cindy Filipenko

Inspector Norm McPhail, the officer in charge for the newly formed RCM Sea-to-Sky Regional Police Services, met with Village of Pemberton mayor and council to discuss community concerns on Tuesday, June 20.

The RCMP inspector prefaced his remarks by saying that it has been an unusually busy morning in Pemberton. The local detachment was in the midst of processing a stabbing incident that occurred the previous evening and dealing with a garbage bear.

However, crime, whether human or ursine, wasn’t what was on the mind of council members. One of the big areas of interest was the impact of security for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games on the community, the northern portal for the Games.

“What’s the time frame on how security issues will affect (the town with the) world here?” asked Mayor Jordan Sturdy.

McPhail suggested that the village be given a presentation by Bob Harriman and Paul Scofield, officers heading up The Winter Games security.

Pemberton will be the northern terminus for the games and will see many people travelling over the Duffy Lake Road into the area. Councillor Mark Blundell suggested that a possible issue could be that of private transportation unable to travel south into Whistler once arriving in Pemberton during the Olympics. McPhail acknowledged that this is a real concern and one that would be addressed with community input.

“Our planning would be in shortfall if we didn’t have the consideration and consultation of the community, “ he said. “Policing and security will be representative of what the people and community require.”

Asked about specific security measures he said he was not in a position to elaborate but said that traditional “mag and bag” security would be in place at venues and other sensitive areas.

“We’re treating this as a very large sporting event, not a security event,” he said.

Aside from security issues around the Games, a big area for discussion pertained to the fate of the Mt. Currie detachment of the Tribal Police. Since earlier this year a seconded RCMP officer has been the acting police chief. Councillor Jennie Helmer asked what would happen once the officer departed from the community.

“The RCMP will put a staff sergeant in charge of the tribal police for a period of three years at the request of chief and council,” explained McPhail. “It will bring up training and get our officers more in touch with First Nations issues.”

The office in charge of the Sea-to-Sky Regional Police Services see RCMP involvement as a great way to rebuild the force and strengthen inter-community relations.

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