The specialized police work rolled out in emerging, high-risk situations by Integrated Teams of the RCMP is mostly invisible to the public in Chilliwack.
“You don’t see us and the reality is you don’t want to see us, because if we are in town, generally it means something bad has happened in your community, like a homicide or a fatal accident,” said RCMP Chief Supt. Ed Boettcher, officer in charge of I-Teams of the Lower Mainland Division.
The LMD I-team leads were in council chambers Tuesday to share an array of fascinating stats about their work — and one was accompanied by the very excited police services dog named Kimber.
The dog showed off her prey-driven energy, led by her dog handler, Staff Sgt. Joel Leblanc, and Kimber actually stole the show that afternoon at the the council meeting.
“More importantly it’s an opportunity to talk about what we bring to your community in terms of the City of Chilliwack,” Boettcher said.
The teams include: Forensic Identification, Homicide (IHIT), Emergency Response (ERT), Police Dog Services, and Collision Analysis and Reconstruction. They typically respond to 50 calls for service per day.
The first I-team created was IHIT, in 2003.
The creation of the integrated approach grew out of need in the early 2000s, after a comprehensive regional analysis was conducted. More recent LMD co-ordination efforts were the upshot of increasing complexity in investigations, increasing costs, training and repetition.
Costs of I-teams are not fully borne by municipalities, but also subsidized by the provincial and federal governments. For the City of Chilliwack, the cost is about $2.5 million for its share.
“The best way to break that down is for the cost of 13 police officers on the road, you get access to a suite of 339 positions,” Boettcher underlined.
“So what do we do? The reality is if Supt. Massie calls us, we come here,” Boettcher told council. “If he needs us, we will pick up all our expertise, depending on the situation at hand, and come out. We are a support unit by and large for his members.”
But he added that council should think of the teams as Chilliwack’s IHIT, or Police Dog Services.
To watch the hour-long presentation on the Integrated Teams of LMD, go to the City of Chilliwack youtube channel, which starts at about the 12-minute mark.
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