Castlegar’s mayor says the city was already regularly reviewing police staffing levels before it was recommended to do so by a coroner’s inquest this month.
On Jan. 29, 2015, RCMP officer Const. Jason Tait attempted to pull over drunk driver Waylon Edey on the highway near Castlegar. When Edey did not stop, a series of events occurred that led to Tait fatally shooting Edey.
Tait was charged with manslaughter, but was found not guilty by a jury in 2020.
The ensuing coroner’s inquest made a number of recommendations to the Minister of Public Safety and the RCMP on items like using body cameras and dash cameras for all frontline officers and improving de-escalation techniques.
It also included a recommendation that the City of Castlegar “review staffing levels on a regular basis to ensure the community is adequately policed.”
“We are always doing that on an ongoing basis,” Mayor Maria McFaddin told Castlegar News.
“Every council meeting (twice a month) we get an update as to what staffing levels are.”
McFaddin also says the city is constantly looking for ways to advocate with other levels of government to ensure Castlegar has all of the resources it needs.
But in the end, the city has no control over how many police officers are assigned to the area, or how many hours they work. Those decisions are made by the province and the RCMP.
Castlegar RCMP Sgt. Monty Taylor says resource levels are continually assessed by the local detachment commander and supervisors.
“Whether it is the immediate shift being worked in relation to police incidents or long-term scheduling, resource assessments are completed to ensure adequate police resources are available and that public and police safety is not jeopardized,” said Taylor.
Taylor also cited the fact that the detachment commander provides a verbal update, which a majority of the time includes an update on resources levels, to mayor and council at meetings twice a month.
“The Castlegar detachment is adequately resourced,” added Taylor.
He also says that should there be a major incident, such as a wildfire, that RCMP have at their disposal additional officers in the immediate surrounding area and throughout the province available to assist, if required.
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