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Kimberley RCMP looking to take proactive approach to mental health issues

Kimberley Daily Bulletin - 4/16/2021

Sgt. Steve Woodcox of the Kimberley RCMP detachment delivered the fourth quarter policing report to Council on Monday, April 12, 2021. The quarter covers January to March 2021.

Woodcox outlined the various calls responded to by detachment members, including a motor vehicle fatality near Skookumchuck and a fatal overdose in Kimberley in January.

Speaking to the overdose, which was indeed fentanyl, Woodcox said that although Kimberley doesn't have a lot of drug problems, the drugs that do come into the community are the same ones as in the bigger cities.

"We are not invincible to big city problems," he said.

He also told Council that he was working with Interior Health on ways to be proactive about mental health calls in Kimberley.

"We want to work with IH to have a mental health nurse attend with us on mental health visits," he said, adding that many of these visits are wellness checks on people that police are familiar with.

Other detachments in the province are seeing some positive results from being accompanied by a mental health professional, Woodcox said, by being proactive and dealing with a problem ahead of time.

"We're not experts. A professional can make some decisions and advise the doctor."

He explained that the mental health nurse would have certain clients in town and it wouldn't necessarily be an emergency situation.

"We want to avoid an emergency situation where just police attend. We get repeat people we deal with often, and prroactive approach could help. At the end of the day, it's about helping people."

He added that preliminary conversations with Interior Health have been positive.