Campbell River: Marked increase in RCMP emergency calls this month

The Campbell River RCMP are experiencing a marked increase in the number of emergency calls this January.

In a press release issued last night, media relations officer Cst Maury Tyre, “2020 was the busiest year in terms of calls for service at the Campbell River RCMP for at least 10 years. This makes January 2021’s file count thus far concerning when we compare to our 2020 numbers.”

Photo credit: Cst Maury Tyre – courtesy Campbell River RCMP

Marked increase in RCMP emergency calls

“At the end of business on January 27th, 2021, the Campbell River RCMP had already responded to 1119 calls for service. At the end of the same date in 2020, they had responded to 995 files. That means a 12.5% increase in calls for service so far in 2021, and many of those calls have been very labour intensive.” 

Mental health crisis

“What follows are two examples of mental health crises that police have dealt with in the past two weeks, and there are many more. The examples are given in order to provide context to the nature and understanding of mental health related calls that police deal with on a regular basis. These kinds of calls are on the rise across the country and require patient and mentally agile officers to deal with them. It’s always our hope that when someone does need to be apprehended under the mental health act that it can be done in a peaceful manner. However as Mental Health situations are entirely unpredictable, officers have to be ready to protect themselves and the public if the subject gets violent.”  

A 5 hour long negotiation

“On January 12th, 2021 members were called to a remote locale 30 minutes outside of Campbell River to assess the mental health of a 36 year old male with violent tendencies and concurrent substance use issues that had indicated he had no interest in going with police in a peaceful manner. What occurred in effect was a 5 hour negotiation that ended peacefully with the male apprehended under the Mental Health Act and transported to Campbell River Hospital.”

This event is an excellent example of the patience and care that our members in Campbell River and across the country take when dealing with Mental Health calls,” said Cst Maury Tyre. “However it is also a stark display of the resourcing necessary to deal with Mental Health situations in a peaceful and safe manner which is what the public expects in these types of situations. Four officers were required to attend this event over a half hour away from the city, seriously depleting resources within the community and capabilities in dealing with lesser priority files. Our members showed amazing commitment and stayed several hours beyond the end of their twelve hour shifts in order to ensure a peaceful resolution and make sure the community of Campbell River had the staff it needed to respond to priority files.” 

A severe psychotic episode

“On January 14th, 2021, members were called to a support society location to deal with a male suffering from a severe psychotic episode. The 20 year old male believed that people were trying to control his mind and kill him and the people around him. The male’s psychological break from reality had been the result of untreated Mental Health issues and self medication with potent illicit drugs. Campbell River members were able to peacefully get the male out of the building treating the individual as they would under VIP protection to make him feel comfortable enough to leave the safety of his sheltered spot and transport him to Campbell River Hospital.”

This event was another reminder of the inter-relationship between Mental Health and addiction. The issues police deal with are very rarely, one or the other, but usually a mixture of causes and issues, said Cst Maury Tyre. The situations are often very volatile and one wrong word or action can trigger a violent response. At times it may not be ideal for police to be the ones dealing with these crises, but it is the very real threat of violence that requires their assistance in these matters.”  

Homeless women robbed

“At 6:30 am on January 23rd, 2021, two females who have been forced to live on the streets were camped out in front of the Campbell River Library when they had their belongings taken after one of them had been punched in the face several times. The RCMP investigation led to a 29 year old male who was also of no fixed address. A warrant was issued for the arrest of the man and he was picked up by police on January 28th, 2021 and remained in custody at the time of writing.”

Domestic Chase

“On January 21st, 2021 at 10:00 pm on the 1800 block of the South Island Highway police were called to a report of a female who was trying to escape a relationship with a violent individual.”

“A search ensued for the male and he was located in a vehicle that was stopped nearby by police. The male fled from the vehicle and entered the bushes of Simms Creek, crossed the creek and hid in the dense thickets and brambles.”

“Officers had given chase and utilized the exceptional skills of Police Service Dog “Gator”, to locate the 35 year old man hiding in the woods. Upon location the male failed to follow police direction which resulted in a brief struggle and arrest.”

“Ray Sharkey was charged with Assault, Uttering Threats, Resisting Arrest and several counts of disobeying probation orders. He remains in custody.”

Instances such as these can be very dangerous for both the offender and the officers involved, said Cst Maury Tyre. In this case the suspect suffered a single bite from the police dog and some bruising due to resisting arrest and failing to follow police commands. It’s so important for people to understand, that resisting and running rarely ends in a positive way. Officers are more than willing to arrest without force, but are prepared to use force if it’s required.

Impaired driver

“On January 9th, 2021 at approximately 7:45 pm a newer model white compact car smashed into Adam’s Tarp and Tool. Campbell River RCMP attended and conducted an impaired driving investigation with the 26 year old male driver, who was not the owner of the vehicle. The man was found to have a blood alcohol content over 5 times the legal limit.”

“Police are recommending criminal charges related to Impaired Operation of a motor vehicle.” 

“If you have information regarding criminal activity, please contact the Campbell River RCMP at 250-286-6221. In an emergency please call 911.”

Cst. Tyre concluded his report with a reminder, “All criminal investigations are alleged to have occurred until tried in a court of law.”

Links of Interest:

Top photo credit: Police Service Dog “Gator”- Photo by Erin Wallis Photography

This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada‚Äôs Local Journalism Initiative