Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen met with Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino along with Cariboo—Prince George MP Todd Doherty in Ottawa last week to discuss priorities for the local RCMP detachment.
Mendicino’s director of communications Alexander Cohen said the minister was “alarmed” when a live-shooter targeted the detachment last November and has been focused on ensuring that “every member of the RCMP gets the assistance they need.”
Mendicino and Thiessen spoke about the importance of support from RCMP leadership for the local detachment in the wake of the shooting, Cohen said. “Especially for members dealing with post-traumatic stress injuries and other mental health issues.”
Cohen said the meeting was productive and followed a call between Mendicino and Vanderhoof detachment Cpl. Kyle Ushock a week prior. Doherty told Parliament on March 21 that when asked to recount the events of that day in November many of the officer’s voices still crack with emotion. “They’re still hurting,” Doherty said.
Mendicino and Thiessen also discussed potential improvements to the Vanderhoof RCMP building itself, Cohen said, including safety enhancements like bulletproof glass.
Mendicino promised to relay those priorities to RCMP leadership. Thiessen said he’s pleased Mendicino appreciates the range of issues facing Vanderhoof RCMP.
“It was really encouraging to see that somebody in Ottawa understood that we’ve gone through some challenges,” Thiessen said.
He said B.C.’s North District RCMP Deputy Superintendent has also said the Vanderhoof detachment is a priority.
Thiessen said there are positive things on the horizon for policing in Vanderhoof such as a new commander and corporal looking to move to the community soon — that will help with staffing.
“We will just continue to work and to advocate — whatever we can do to to help to make things happen”