The Houston RCMP detachment remains closed to the public for now. (File photo)

RCMP detachment remains closed to public

But could re-open soon for counter services

  • Jun. 24, 2020 12:00 a.m.

The Houston RCMP detachment remains closed to the public but that could change soon, says the detachment commander.

“We just waiting for some direction from E Division, headquarters,” said Sergeant Mark Smaill of how the detachment, closed to the public since mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, could re-open and offer counter services.

“I know we’ve been getting inquiries from the public. We’ve been doing as much as possible by telephone,” he added.

One service that can’t be provided is doing criminal record checks and taking fingerprints for people working with non-profit and other agencies.

“But with no summer camps this year, there won’t be a lot of demand,” said Smaill.

Camps, particularly ones in which there were overnight stays, aren’t being permitted by COVID-19 public health orders.

Otherwise, it’s been pretty much business as usual for the detachment’s members.

“We’ve been active and are trying to keep social distance as much as possible,” said Smaill.

He did say there had been a drop in calls for service because the pandemic had dampened activity within the detachment’s coverage area, allowing detachment members to catch up on accumulated paperwork and files.

“We did have a pretty busy fall and we’ve been able to catch up on a few things so for that, it’s been good for us,” Smaill added.

Members patrolling Hwy. 16 also noticed a drop in through traffic because of the public health advisories calling for a stop to non-essential travel.

In the meantime, the detachment remains without a corporal since Smaill was promoted from that position to sergeant and detachment commander to replace Sgt. Jason Burndred who was transferred last year.

Smaill said the pandemic had slowed transfers and promotions but that staffing matters are slowly returning to normal.

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