Revelstoke RCMP town hall meet explores drugs, sexual assault, social media rumours

RCMP are seeking input from the public to create custom plan for Revelstoke and proactively address issues of concern within the community.

Revelstoke RCMP Staff-Sgt. Kurt Grabinsky spoke to a number of issues during his presentation at the community policing town hall meeting. Photo: Melissa Jameson/Revelstoke Mountaineer.

Revelstoke RCMP Staff-Sgt. Kurt Grabinsky said he is pleased with the outcome of a recent community policing town hall meeting despite the small attendance. Only about a dozen people showed up for the meeting held at the Revelstoke Community Centre on Tuesday, Feb. 27. Grabinsky organized the town hall as a way to identify the concerns the public has, provide information, and address recent social media rumours.

“There’s been a lot of things happening recently in Revelstoke. On social media you see a lot of responses, a lot of rumours and misinformation. This is an opportunity to speak to the real facts and to help the community understand what the facts are,” he said.

Here are a few highlights from Grabinsky’s presentation:

Stoke List criticism

It seems not even the RCMP are impervious to receiving their fair share of criticism via The Stoke List. Criticism has ranged from how police officers spend their time to suggestions on how the city can save money on policing costs.

“It seems people on The Stoke List believe we spend all our time at Tim Hortons. We’re busy I can’t emphasize this enough,” said Grabinsky.

A recent post on The Stoke List pointed to the cost of having RCMP as the community police force, saying the city should look at a municipal police force as a way to save money. Grabinsky said the city would be looking at doubling the budget if they switched to a municipal police force.

Sexual assaults

Revelstoke RCMP statistics show 17 sexual assault investigations took place in 2017. These include sexual interference and exploitation. Grabinsky said the RCMP are aware sexual assaults are often unreported and the actual number is likely higher based on information provided through third-party sources. In the fall of 2017 RCMP released a media statement in partnership with the Revelstoke Women’s Shelter and Interior Health to address information about three sexual assaults in the community that were not reported to the RCMP.

“We want people to trust us. It’s a sensitive subject. It’s a personal subject,” said Grabinsky. “It’s hard to tell the public about what we don’t know or investigate what we don’t know.”

About a dozen people showed up for the community policing town hall held on Tuesday, Feb. 27. Photo: Melissa Jameson/Revelstoke Mountaineer.

Drugs and drug trafficking

In 2017 Revelstoke RCMP opened 13 drug-related investigations with a total of 4,400 files. Grabinsky said drug investigations are extremely time consuming.

All Revelstoke RCMP officers now carry a Naloxone kit due to the province-wide increase in fentanyl overdoses. Grabinsky said if RCMP attend a 911 call related to an overdose they are not there to charge people at that time, they are there to help.

Grabinsky also spoke directly to a rumour that has been circulating around Revelstoke for years regarding the RCMP and drug dealers.

“Number one, we are not in their pocket. Number two, we are not fearful of them,” said Grabinsky. It [investigating drug trafficking] cannot always be the Number One priority. We’d love to make it that.”

Victoria Road Standoff/Suicide

On October 17, 2017 Revelstoke RCMP along with the RCMP Emergency Response Team engaged in a five-hour stand-off with a man  believed to be connected to an ongoing Calgary police investigation. Grabinsky said looking back he regrets it so long for RCMP to realize the man had committed suicide inside the vehicle he had contained himself in, but doesn’t regret making sure the community stayed safe.

“Nobody else got hurt. We don’t need to rush into something if we can avoid somebody else getting harmed,” said Grabinsky.

A copy of Grabinsky’s presentation can be viewed here.

Grabinsky is also encouraging members of the public to  fill out a short survey to help prioritize issues of importance to the community.