The RCMP in B.C. will continue to do their jobs and serve the public during the COVID-19 crisis.
Assistant commissioner Dwayne McDonald, the acting commanding officer of the RCMP in the province, said that with the ever fluid and evolving global health situation, and the province declaring a state of emergency on March 20, the RCMP continues to work closely with the local, provincial, and national health agencies to monitor and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said he understands that these are uncertain times.
“As an emergency response agency, the BC RCMP are continuing to work through this,” McDonald said.
“We have existing protocols and procedures that deal with emergency situations, and that includes pandemics. Our police officers deal with exposure to communicable diseases and other hazards regularly, so our training and procedures have always focused on reducing those risks, to ourselves and the communities we serve. It is about planning, preparation, prevention, and protection.”
McDonald said that as a result of this preparation, the Division Emergency Operations Centre is active, and is monitoring and overseeing the coordination of police resources at the provincial and national level.
He said this includes monitoring the RCMP’s business continuity plans, assessing the force’s essential service levels and equipment, providing updates on its safety and prevention measures to its employees and collaborating with its partners.
“At the local policing level, our detachments are continuing to provide policing services and ensuring community safety,” McDonald said.
“Detachments are continually assessing their service and program options, and where necessary, reducing front counter services, cancelling events, and enhancing their precautions. We have also instructed our police officers and personnel around what safety measures should be taken when interacting with individuals at greater risk, what officers should do if they come in contact with an individual suspected of being infected, and when, where, and how they should use the appropriate personal protective equipment.”
McDonald said that as an employer, the RCMP is also there to support all its employees.
He said the RCMP continues to provide employees with regular updates, implement prevention measures within the workplace, and are supporting telework options.
“At this time, for everyone, education on this matter is so important,” McDonald said.
“By increasing employee awareness around proper hygiene etiquette and health protocols we can do our part during this health emergency.”
McDonald said that these are truly unprecedented times.
He said the RCMP is asking for the public’s patience and understanding.
“And more importantly, we are asking for your support,” McDonald said.
“We are all members of the community and all of us and our loved ones are being affected by this global pandemic. Everyone has a role to play in response to mitigating this health issue. We are committed to ensuring that the BC RCMP will be there when British Columbians need us. Public safety is our priority. As our province takes measures to flatten the curve of COVID-19, we thank the public for their mindfulness and cooperation.”