Vernon North Okanagan RCMP need help with mental health calls

Mental health calls are straining the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP.

“When I was at work on Thursday (August 11), just about everyone in town was on a mental health call,” the superintendent said. Shawna Baher.

She made her comments during the presentation of the quarterly crime statistics to the city council at its August 15 meeting.

“The police shouldn’t be the people who always respond to these issues.”

Baher added that this takes away from further service calls.

“Could our time be better spent?” Absolutely, if we had any partners, and we currently don’t have any except for the crisis response team when they are available.

Baher said she would like to see nurses and mental health workers with officers.

The RCMP is still trying, but with little success, to get help from Interior Health to get opioid antagonists into the cells of people in withdrawal.

“If you’ve never seen someone go through withdrawal, that’s a horrible thing,” Baher said.

The RCMP report indicates that 158 ​​naloxone kits were distributed between April and June of this year as part of the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP Opioid Pilot Project. It was launched in 2018 to improve services for people with addiction issues, which often lead them to criminal behavior.

Criminal Code cases rose 2.9% in Vernon between April and June, compared to the same period last year, while property offenses rose 6.6%.

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