To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the RCMP, we sat down with Sgt. Chris Dodds of the Revelstoke RCMP to learn more about the local detachment.
The local force
Returning to ‘normal’ after the impacts felt from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Revelstoke RCMP has seen an uptick in files for service, back to the ‘pre-pandemic’ level according to Dodds. He added that they’re likely to see an increase in file count moving forward.
One of the key goals local police are looking to meet is traffic enforcement, especially when it comes to proactively enforcing impaired driving. Last year, local police did more than 30 roadblocks to check for impaired drivers, an effort which Dodds said was successful.
“People do choose to make the wrong decision to drive home,” said Dodds. “It’s good to have that proactive enforcement out there.”
“The outcome of impaired driving can be terrible,” added Dodds.
Police often receive complaints about speeding, including in school zones like on Nichol Road. In one instance, police pulled over a car for excessive speeding on Nichol Road and the car was impounded for seven days.
The Revelstoke RCMP wrote over 500 tickets and warnings in the detachment area and over 400 tickets and warnings in the municipality over the past year.
The Revelstoke RCMP also regularly responds to calls for search and rescue and works collaboratively with local Search and Rescue Services (REVSAR) in helping those in need.
Looking ahead, local police are looking to crack down on property crime, especially from vehicles in areas adjacent to the highway and the downtown core.
“It’s generally, from what we can see, just opportunity,” said Dodds. He added that most thefts are valuables left out in the open inside unlocked vehicles.
Break-ins, both commercial and residential, remain extremely low in Revelstoke. “I’d like to keep it that way,” said Dodds.
Through the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce, police will look to educate local businesses on how to properly secure their valuables and provide deterrence for potential thieves.
The identity of the Revelstoke RCMP
Through the allure of Revelstoke’s recreational advantages, many of the local police officers are quite young when compared to other detachments in the province. For many of them, Revelstoke is their first posting.
Approximately half of the detachment are fresh from police training, and this is their first posting with the RCMP.
“We do a lot of training here,” said Dodds.
Dodds added that because of the inflated price of housing in the community, it’s very difficult to attract experienced officers with families to join the local force.
“We have a youthful group,” said Dodds. He added that the group of young officers he has are very proactive and jump at opportunities to be a part of the community.
Through working with the City of Revelstoke, the Revelstoke RCMP hopes to work towards professional housing options for would-be officers.
“It’s something that we’re acutely aware of,” said Dodds. Options like the Canadian Pacific employee housing give Dodds some hope for what professional housing could look like for them.
The Revelstoke RCMP has 16 general duty officers, six highway patrol officers, and two forensic specialists on the force. Most members of the local police force spend five to eight years of their career with the Revelstoke RCMP.
“It’s pretty good longevity here,” said Dodds. “It’s a beautiful place to live. A lot of members like it here and they don’t want to leave.”
“The RCMP is an adventure in itself,” said Dodds about the potential career paths for local police.
Despite their loss, Dodds looked back fondly on the charity hockey game against the Revelstoke Firefighters.
“We’ll be coming back with a vengeance next year,” he laughed.
That wasn’t the only sporting event hosted by local police this year. They held a charity road hockey game against the military who work with the avalanche control team with Parks Canada in Rogers Pass.
They successfully filled the empty position with victim services in the local detachment, a big highlight according to Dodds.
Dodds said he looks back fondly at community initiatives over the last year, including the Emergency Services Food Drive, multiple school and daycare visits introducing youth and kids to officers and equipment, and even a bike rodeo.
Dodds said local police are also working with local partners like the Revelstoke Women’s Shelter, Community Connections, social development through the City of Revelstoke, and the community response network to stay engaged in the community.