Tom Dyas promises more support for Kelowna RCMP if elected mayor – Okanagan | Canadian

Kelowna mayoral candidate Tom Dyas announced that if elected, he would seek to expand the Police and Crisis Team (PACT) and provide a full-time nurse at the Kelowna RCMP detachment’s cell block, all in an effort to help deal with mental health and crime related concerns, Dyas says this would help alleviate pressure on the officers.

“So, when they are doing their duty and they get calls with regards to mental health situations, they would be able to have those individuals work alongside them, who are professionals dealing with mental health illness, and help assist with those calls,” explains Tom Dyas.

Recent data unveiled by Stats Canada shows that Kelowna has the highest crime rate out of all Canadian metropolitan areas. Meanwhile, the Kelowna RCMP say they’ve received more than 3,100 mental health-related calls in 2021. Dyas suggests the current system in place isn’t effective enough.

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“They’re having to deal with these files, and they’re also having to stay with these individuals as they are admitted into Kelowna General Hospital, and it is consuming up massive amounts of time,” Dyas describes.

“Now they’re unable to get out and deal with the other situations within this community that our community needs for them to deal with.”

Kelowna’s current mayor, Colin Basran, however, isn’t too keen on Dyas’ proposal.

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“If he had taken the time over the course of the last four years to do some homework, he would see that a lot of good work is being done by this council,” said Mayor Basran.

Mayor Basran says he and his council members have a great relationship with the local authorities and have been very supportive of increased RCMP resources.

“One of the things that we’ve asked Interior Health for is increased nursing support through the PACT team and over the past couple of years, we have been very vocal council has been for increases in nursing help for our PACT team,” Basran told Global.

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The mayor also added that council has advocated for health supports for the Kelowna RCMP cell block, something that Interior Health and the RCMP already have an arrangement for.

“I think you’ll see this throughout the campaign where Mr. Dyas, given his political inexperience, will take ideas and initiatives of this council and try to make them his own,” Basran expressed.

Earlier this year, the provincial government also announced reforms to the BC Police Act. There will now be a mental health option when you call 9-1-1, which allows the call to be answer by somebody who is trained in mental health.

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“So that’s going to decrease the number of calls the RCMP get for mental health response, but it’s also going to free up their time to be boots on the ground and deal with true crime in our community,” described Basran.

Mayor Basran told Global News that he’s going to take some time before he officially announces his intentions on whether he’ll run for mayor again or not.


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