PART ONE: Why spend a quarter million $ on a Crime Reduction Unit? Castlegar can answer
With a municipal election cycle looming less than a year away (November 2014), city council checked in on one of its most publically-visible investments – namely the RCMP Crime Reduction Unit (CRU).
A specialized unit which the city agreed to help fund back in 2008, the CRU costs local taxpayers roughly $218,400 per year, which allows for two members plus some operating costs, minus a 30-per-cent federal buy-in.
With this in mind, council requested a ‘state-of-the-union’ presentation from CRU non-comissioned officer in charge, Cpl. Darryl Orr, and his supervisor, Sgt. Mike Wicentowich, at Monday’s regular council meeting.
Their presentation further reinforced Mayor Lawrence Chernoff’s conviction that the city’s investment in the unit is a good one.
“I think it’s been effective in the community, especially when you look at how things are now, compared to how they were before,” Chernoff said. “I think we’ve come a long way in the past couple of years.”
Wicentowich explained that the merit of such a unit lies primarily within the structure of a detachment – general duties members need to drop everything to respond to calls as they come in, which is not conducive to in-depth or long-term investigations, not to mention repeat-offender management, crime hotspots (ie: a rash of break-and-enters) and proactive policing.
He said the CRU handled the church arson, the recent armed robbery (there’s nothing new to report on that at this time), and could manage any major crime up to, and including, homicide.
“A specialized unit means specialized members, with specialized knowledge and specialized training,” he said.
For example, he said, both Orr and Const. Jeff Roberts (who has been awarded a position within the General Investigative Section serving the entire West Kootenay, and has been succeeded by Const. Brendan Vaillant) have been recognized through the course of a managerial review as superior investigators – something he calls a significant honour.
“It’s exceptional – You don’t see that very often. And this isn’t even an internal process, it includes Crown counsel, federal counsel; a whole cross-section of people who have something to do with policing.”
He said there would be a final report from that review process coming out withing the next couple of months which will be publicly disseminated.
Ed Note: There was a lot of fascinating information imparted by Orr regarding criminal activity in the West Kootenay. Stayed tuned for Part Two of Source coverage of CRU activities and impact in the region.