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Trail RCMP addresses COVID-19 concerns, including service delivery and frauds

Trail top cop Sgt. Mike Wicentowich has come up with a comprehensive press release describing a variety of ways DOVID-19 is impacting local policing, including new frauds the virus has inspired.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • The RCMP continues to work closely with the local, provincial and national health agencies to monitor and respond to the situation. We are aware of the pandemic and our efforts will continue to be flexible and fluid based on the recommendations made by these agencies, while ensuring our commitment to core policing duties and the safety of our communities.
  • As an emergency response agency, we do have existing protocols and procedures that deal with these types of health situations.  As police officers we routinely have to take precautions due to contacts with individuals and communicable diseases. Our members deal with exposure to bodily fluids and other hazards regularly, so our training and procedures have always focused on reducing those risks (ie. we plan, prepare, prevent and protect).
  • We are continually assessing those processes and ensuring our response and continuity plans are updated and in place. Information is also available to frontline personnel around:
    • what precautions should be taken when interacting with individuals at greater risk,
    • measures to take should you come in contact with an individual suspected of being infected,
    • when/where/how they should use the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • As an employer we continue to provide updates to our employees around general precautions, supervisor/management responsibilities and (trusted) information resources.
  • We are mindful that as an essential service we must continue to ensure public safety is not impacted, yet balance the needs of all of our employees, families and communities. Detachment Commanders and Municipalities are working together to find solutions which safeguard employee’s health and well-being while not affecting core policing duties, i.e. closing or limiting front counter service and closing community policing offices.
EMPLOYEE ISOLATION OR POSITIVE TEST
  • We respect that you have questions with respect to RCMP employees' status in relation to COVID-19, we are not in a position to confirm specific information with respect to our employees, as this forms part of their private medical history.
  • In general, RCMP throughout the province is following direction from public health officials, with respect to any possible exposure to COVID-19. As soon as any RCMP employee learns of a possible exposure to the virus immediate precautions are undertaken. As such, any persons whom our employee may have had contact with after possible exposure will be notified privately. We of course would then respect our employees right to privacy and they will not be identified publicly.
  • As an emergency response agency, we do have existing protocols and procedures that deal with these types of health situations.  As police officers we routinely have to take precautions due to contacts with individuals and communicable diseases. Our members deal with exposure to bodily fluids and other hazards regularly, so our training and procedures have always focused on reducing those risks (ie. we plan, prepare, prevent and protect). We are continually assessing those processes and ensuring our response and continuity plans are updated and in place.

RESOURCE IMPACTS

  • Should RCMP Detachments be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic there is Divisional support looking at shifting and resource levels. These are both continually assessed to ensure proper levels are maintained.  Resource deployment is under constant assessment in these emergent situations. The RCMP has surge capacity and are able to pull from resources around the province to address the most urgent needs.
  • We are constantly assessing our resource deployment based on emergent needs, while ensuring policing duties in all of our communities we provide service and other responsibilities we have as the provincial police force are not compromised.
  • Should redeployment of RCMP resources be required it will not affect the routine policing duties in their home communities.

WHAT MIGHT YOU EXPECT WHEN THE RCMP IN BC RESPOND TO YOUR CALL FOR SERVICE DUE TO COVID-19?

  • RCMP across the province are continuing to provide core policing services and work hard to ensure community safety due to the impacts of COVID-19. Our detachments are continually assessing their service delivery and program options, and where necessary, reducing front counter services and enhancing their precautions, which of course extends to the frontline.
  • 911 Police Dispatchers and RCMP call-takers: 
    • To help ensure police and public safety, callers can expect to answer additional questions whenever they contact 911 or their local police non-emergency lines. These questions are focused on whether anyone in the caller’s residence, or at the scene of an incident have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is exhibiting any symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.
    • We ask that the public listen closely and provide accurate and honest answers to these questions. It’s important to note that a risk of potential exposure to COVID-19 will not stop our police officers from attending priority calls in your community. These questions allow our frontline officer to appropriately prepare for their attendance to the scene, allowing them to take the necessary steps to keep themselves and others safe.
  • Police officers may wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
    • Depending on the totality of the emergency situation that our frontline officers are responding to, in the countless communities we serve in B.C., they may wear Personal Protective Equipment or PPE which could include a face mask, disposable gloves and/or protective eye wear. Police officers with our specialized plain clothes units, such as General Investigation Sections (GIS), Major Crime Units (MCU) and even our Traffic Services enforcement officers or forensic specialists may don protective gear during their duties.
    • We recognize that this change in our appearance may be somewhat alarming to the public, but please understand that this measure is only taken in order to ensure everyone’s health and safety. It is important to note that should any of our frontline officers be observed donning this protective equipment, it is in an effort to limit any potential exposure to the novel coronavirus. It is not necessarily an indication that the call for police service we are responding to is related to COVID-19, or that anyone involved has been diagnosed with the virus.
    • Each call our first responders attend to will be assessed individually, therefore our police officers may not be in Personal Protective Equipment. Furthermore, additional precautionary measures may be taken when officers make an arrest. On a case-by-case basis, the arresting officer may use their discretion to place Personal Protective Equipment on individuals taken into police custody. 
  • Rigorous cleaning protocols of RCMP equipment, police vehicles and facilities
    • In an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have been developing and refining procedures for cleaning and decontaminating our equipment, police fleet vehicles and policing facilities. These enhanced and more frequent cleaning and sanitizing protocols have been taken to reduce the risk to not only our police officers, our employees, but the general public and of course our clients. Disinfecting high touch areas, and decontaminating fleet vehicles or facilities that are believed to be exposed to the novel coronavirus are a priority.
  • Measures to keep our communities safe:
    • While the provincial and federal governments have put significant measures in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the RCMP in BC is taking additional measures to combat crime, while our communities are being impacted. We want to re-assure the public and local business owners that measures are being implemented to target offenders and deter them from taking advantage of this difficult situation.
    • The RCMP will be more visible in our communities to deter individuals who may be looking to commit a crime as companies temporarily close up during the pandemic. We are monitoring and making sure our presence is known in areas that contain businesses that are closed down for the duration, to help offset any potential criminal activity. If anyone sees anything suspicious, they are being asked to call their local police or if necessary 9-1-1

TRAIL AND GREATER DISTRICT DETACHMENT RCMP

  • The Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP is closing its front desk lobby to the public until further notice to reduce the chance of CONVID-19 contamination in our facility.  The public will still be provided with the same level of service; however, will have to use the RCMP phone located just outside the front door of the detachment to speak to an employee or police officer.  This measure will be reassessed daily but may remain in effect until the peak of the virus has passed. 
  • Non-essential services such as fingerprinting and Criminal Record Checks are suspended until further notice as a measure to help reduce the spread of CONVID-19.  This will be reassessed daily but may remain in effect until the peak of the virus has passed.
  • A police officer may call you if your matter is non-urgent to assess the situation and determine if police attendance is required.  This again to protect both the police officer and the public from the spread of the virus.     
  • You may see local police officers wearing masks with filters and/or face shields in the course of their duties and when dealing with the public as required.  It is paramount that police officers take all necessary precautions to keep themselves and the public as safe as possible to help flatten the curve.
  • If you are exhibiting symptoms including fever, coughing and difficulty breathing, do not come to the detachment for police service.  Please call the detachment at 250-364-2566 to discuss your matter. 
  • These changes are being made as a preventative measure and do not affect 9-1-1 service or calls to our non-emergency police line.
  • The Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP have increased foot and vehicle patrols in response to COVID-19.
  • The Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP continue to ask the public to take preventative measures such as:
    • Locking their homes and vehicles.
    • Securing their valuables.
    • Adhering to the current social distancing and isolation guidelines.
    • Routinely checking and monitoring businesses and buildings closed due to the pandemic.
    • Making yourself aware of the recent frauds due to the COVID-19 crisis (below).
    • Reporting crime and suspicious activities to the police.   
The Trail and Greater District Detachment remain committed to keeping our communities safe and maintaining police service while helping prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Thank you for your supporting and understanding during this time. 

FRAUD ALERT - COVID-19 scams are spreading like the virus (B.C. Federal Serious and Organized Crime)

British Columbians are being targeted by fraudsters who want to profit from consumers' fears and desire to protect themselves from the COVID-19 (Coronavirus).  The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is reporting that scammers are setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information.  The emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips, and fake information about cases in your neighborhood. They also may be asking you to donate to victims, offering advice on unproven treatments, offering protective gear or detection kits, or fake home sanitizing services.  There are currently no vaccines or drugs approved to treat or prevent COVID-19. The current forecast to have efficient vaccines available for general public is months away and will be communicated via legitimate government and health authorities.

Some examples of COVID-19 frauds and facts include:

Fraud - Private companies offering fast COVID-19 tests for sale
Fact - Only hospitals can perform the test, no other tests are genuine or guaranteed to provide accurate results

Fraud - Door-to-door solicitors offering fake decontamination services
Fact – Follow direction of the Provincial Health Authority to decontaminate your home and reduce your personal risk.

Fraud - Fraudsters posing as police have been imposing on-the-spot fines to consumers wearing masks claiming that wearing a mask in public goes against a full-face veil law
Fact - It isn't illegal to wear a mask for health reasons

Fraud – Fraudsters urge you to invest in hot new stocks related to the virus
Fact – You should only ever purchase stocks through reputable sources and banking institutions.

Fraud - Fraudsters sending emails, texts or online campaigns that capitalize on the public's fears about Covid-19
Fact – Do not respond to unsolicited email, texts or phone calls. Don’t click on any links or give any information about yourself. If you have any doubts about where the email came from, make sure to check the identity of the sender., if you receive a suspicious phone call, hang-up.

Fraud - Fraudsters are creating fraudulent and deceptive online ads offering: cleaning products, hand sanitizers, other items in high demand
Fact – Buy from companies or individuals you know by reputation or from past experience. Before   checking out, make sure you’re still on a reputable website and have not been redirected to a third-party page. Beware of sellers from far away or that have limited or no reviews. Use a credit card when shopping online; many offer protection and may give you a refund. Regularly check your credit card statements for frequent or unknown charges.

How to protect yourself:

  • Find the latest legitimate information:
  • Contact your insurance provider to answer any health insurance questions
  • Beware of high-priced or low-quality products
  • Beware of unsolicited medical advisory emails or texts with links or attachments
  • Fraudsters may use spoofing, which means they make it look as if the origin of the email or text is legitimate by using identifying information similar to government and health care organizations
  • Beware of unauthorized or fraudulent charities requesting money for victims or research
  • What to do if you are the victim of a scam:
    • if you have lost money or valuables, or provided your personal information, contact your local police
    • If you have been contacted but have not lost anything or given your personal information, report online to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm