An RCMP helicopter flew in circles around Duncan’s core Friday mid-day while the sirens of firetrucks blared as trucks rushed to a call downtown.
The two emergency responder crews were not attending the same call, however.
For the City of Duncan’s fire department, it was a dryer fire at a downtown hair salon. That was quickly extinguished by the fire chief and the salon was subsequently aired out.
For the RCMP helicopter, details are thus far sparse as the Mounties have only issued a short comment with a more-detailed news release to be issued at a later date.
“RCMP Air Services diverted temporarily to attend the area and assist in an investigation related to alleged property crime offences,” said North Cowichan RCMP spokesperson Const. Carlie McCann.
“Police don’t believe there was any safety risk to the public while the ground and air searches were being conducted, and we appreciated cooperation from the public while we were in the area.”
Parents of Cowichan Secondary students got an email from school principal Darcy Hoff who said a suspect was in the area near the school.
“The RCMP contacted us right away and let us know there was no risk to our students or staff and we didn’t need to take any extra precautions,” read the email.
“The investigation showed the suspect went through the property and left the area. I’m cognizant that such a police presence can concern families. Please reach out if you have any questions.”
RCMP Air Services assists police officers around B.C. with a range of tasks that help keep communities safe. The helicopters can assist with missing persons investigations and locating remote or concealed crime scenes, and do traffic patrols and enforcement on busy roadways. Pilots, who have the ranks of special constable, also photograph and conduct surveillance in vast areas, and use tools like Forward Looking Infrared and high-powered cameras. On Vancouver Island, Air Services is based in Comox and can also transport investigators or dangerous goods quickly and efficiently.
“We frequently locate lost hikers and skiers, and assist with ground search and rescue operations,” commented Comox Air Section base manager Special Cst. Greg Thompson. “Assisting units on the ground and public makes our job very rewarding.”