RCMP in Kamloops, B.C., run risk of burning out officers, police association says

As crime increases in Kamloops, so does stress on police.

An increase in violent incidents means more stress on officers

Kamloops RCMP have been under added stress as violent crime has been at "unprecedented" levels in the city in recent weeks. (Tara Copeland/CBC)

A spokesman for the Mounted Police Professional Association is worried about burnout among RCMP members in Kamloops, B.C., after an influx of violent crime in the city

"It's the seriousness of the calls have been on the uptake for sure," said association spokesperson Rob Creasser. "When you're dealing with firearms related complaints, you need some downtime."

Creasser, who was a Mountie for 28 years, said he found situations involving guns "emotionally draining."

"You have to be that much more mentally prepared because you know you're facing a lethal threat," he said.

Kamloops RCMP Supt. Brad Mueller said members involved in high risk operations have been given extra time off to manage stress and mental health. In addition, added resources have been brought in to off-set the officers taking extra time away from the street to manage mental health. 

"Would I say Kamloops RCMP has enough resources to keep this community safe? Absolutely," Mueller said.

"We need to have some further discussions around resourcing levels and the expectations of the people of Kamloops in terms of service delivery, and if that means we're going to require more resources, I'm confident that the City of Kamloops understands and will be supportive in making sure that we get the resources we need," Mueller said. 

"I think there's already unprecedented rates of occupational stress injuries occurring within the organization, and I think that will continue," Creasser said.

Creasser said along with adding more staff to the roster, the RCMP should look to local politicians for support.

"I think politicians have to step in and demand that detachments be properly staffed in the first place," he said.

Creasser doesn't think attracting new members to the RCMP is an easy task.

"I think the organization is in peril to be quite honest," Creasser said.

"Our wages and benefits are no longer competitive. How do you attract people into an organization where $100 million was just paid out for harassment?"

With files from Daybreak Kamloops