SUBMITTED BY SALT SPRING ISLAND RCMP
As of June 30, 2023, Salt Spring Island RCMP have responded to 1,342 calls for service in the first half of 2023. In the second quarter, RCMP responded to 771 calls, averaging almost 8.5 calls per day.
In addition to the 8-plus calls per day from April to June, police also issued 328 traffic warnings and violation tickets, caught 42 impaired drivers, and conducted 132 licensed premises checks (bar walks). Also, RCMP conducted 419 foot patrols in areas like Centennial Park, Propane Beach, Grace Point and elsewhere. As stated in the last quarterly report where police committed to increasing foot patrol enforcement for the summer, Salt Spring RCMP increased the spring/summer foot patrols by an additional 30 per cent, conducting an average of more than four foot patrols daily.
Salt Spring RCMP continue to respond to a variety of calls for service on the waters around Salt Spring Island. Some of these calls include boat fires, mental health related files, assaults and tragically a recent drowning. During our boat patrols our officers regularly encounter boaters without basic safety equipment, which can include lifejackets, fire extinguisher, bailers, a buoyant heaving line, bilge pump, navigation lights and flares. Often boat operators are unable to provide a Pleasure Craft Operator Card and/or vessel registration.
Some of the calls for the second quarter are detailed below:
• Police responded to a report of an impaired driver on Musgrave Road; the driver was located, their impairment was confirmed and their vehicle towed and impounded. The driver’s licence was subsequently suspended and driving prohibited Canada-wide for 12 months as a result of the Criminal Code impaired investigation and court decision.
• After receiving a report of trespassing on private property and threats made with a sledgehammer, police attended and mediated the situation with the trespassers subsequently leaving the property.
• Salt Spring RCMP assisted York Regional Police with the seizure of a firearm from an unlicensed firearms owner.
• Police responded to an intoxicated person at a local business who was yelling at staff members; upon arrival, the suspect left the business at police direction and picked up their car keys the following day from the RCMP detachment.
• An impaired driver was found in downtown Ganges on Lower Ganges Road; the driver’s vehicle was towed and impounded for 30 days and their licence suspended for 90 days.
• SSI RCMP were called to a domestic dispute at a local address; the two parties were separated with one of the people leaving the residence with some of their personal belongings.
• Police received a report of an intoxicated and confrontational person at a local AirBnB; due to the person’s level of intoxication and inability to care for themselves, the person was arrested and held in cells overnight until sober.
• A person with outstanding warrants was arrested by Salt Spring RCMP and transported off-Island to attend court and answer for their actions.
• A person was arrested and placed in cells for being Intoxicated in a public place; the intoxicated person was subsequently released hours later once deemed sober and able to care for themselves.
• A person was arrested for impaired driving on a scooter in downtown Ganges; the scooter was subsequently impounded for 30 days and the operator’s licence seized and revoked for 90 days.
• Police responded to a report of a theft from a local business; the suspect was located, arrested and subsequently banned from the property with a charge laid.
• Police conducted a traffic stop on Stewart Road for a traffic violation. The driver told RCMP they were a sovereign citizen and that police were not allowed to make an arrest; the driver was subsequently arrested for driving while prohibited and their vehicle impounded.
• RCMP responded to a person wielding a hammer and threatening people; upon arrival, the suspect told police they were having visions of something trying to kill them. The suspect was apprehended by police under the Mental Health Act and transported to Lady Minto Hospital for further assessment.
• Salt Spring RCMP assisted Fort Saskatchewan RCMP by issuing a subpoena to a local resident.
• Police conducted a search for a missing person who was believed to have travelled to Salt Spring Island. The person was subsequently located in another jurisdiction.
• Salt Spring RCMP conducted a traffic stop on Fulford-Ganges Road and found the driver to be impaired; an immediate roadside prohibition was issued with the driver’s licence seized, their vehicle towed and impounded for 30 days and a prohibition issued from driving for the next 90 days.
• Police stopped an individual who threw a burning cigarette out from their car window while driving. Police are reminding the community that this type of activity can result in a $1,700 fine.
• Police conducted a traffic stop on Atkins Road where alcohol impairment was suspected of the driver; the driver refused to provide a sample. As a result the vehicle was impounded for 30 days, their driver’s licence seized and a 90-day driving prohibition was issued.
• A person waving an axe and threatening people was arrested by police and removed from the property.
• A person on Salt Spring was extorted for money after posting intimate and compromising photos of themselves online. Police want to remind residents to be aware of the dangers of posting suggestive photos or videos online.
• A residence was broken into and numerous items stolen; there are no suspects at this time.
• A prohibited driver was found driving on Fulford-Ganges Road; the driver was given a promise to appear document for court and his vehicle was impounded. If convicted the driver could face an additional one-year driving prohibition.
• Stolen traffic signs were recovered by police.
• Salt Spring Island RCMP were called for an elderly individual with dementia who was lost; the person was re-united with friends and taken back to their residence.
• RCMP conducted a traffic stop with a person on a motorbike who immediately fled from police; the person was located a short time later, arrested for dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and the motorbike impounded.
• Police were called to a boat fire in Ganges Harbour. It was determined that the lone occupant of the vessel was suffering from a mental health crisis and refused to get out of the water. Police were able to eventually safely extract the person from the harbour waters. Officers apprehended the person pursuant to the Mental Health Act and escorted the individual to Lady Minto for assessment. At the same time other officers remained on scene with Eagle Eye Marine to ensure the boat fire did not spread.
• A vehicle was stopped for excessive speed in downtown Ganges and it was then determined the driver had been drinking liquor and driving. The driver refused to provide a breath sample and attempted to walk away from police. The drivers was subsequently arrested for impaired driving, their driver’s licence suspended for 90 days, and vehicle impounded for 30 days.
• A vehicle tried to avoid a check stop when police were checking for impaired drivers at Central. The vehicle was subsequently stopped by police and the driver checked for alcohol impairment. The driver provided two breath samples, both resulting in “fail” readings; their driver’s licence was seized, their vehicle impounded and a driving prohibition issued.
• Salt Spring RCMP assisted the RCMP Shiprider program with a vessel transporting drugs in the Gulf Islands; a suspect was arrested and illicit drugs were seized.
• Police responded to a vehicle collision and upon arrival determined the driver to have been drinking and driving. The driver refused to provide a sufficient breath sample and was subsequently charged with impaired driving due to failing to provide an adequate breath sample; the vehicle was impounded for 30 days and driving was prohibited for 90 days.
• Police responded to a report of a person wanting to commit suicide; police located the person and confirmed they were wanting to commit suicide. The individual was apprehended under the Mental Health Act and transported to Lady Minto Hospital for assessment.
• RCMP received a report of a human foot found in Duck Creek; members attended, seized the suspected foot, and with the assistance of the BC Coroner’s Service, confirmed the body part was not human and was in fact a bear paw.
Salt Spring RCMP continue to find impaired drivers driving throughout the island. Based on the number of impaired driving files in the first half of 2023, police are sadly expecting the number of drunk driving files to more than double last year’s total.