Mission RCMP Insp. Annette Fellner has written a letter to explain how police prioritize calls for assistance. / File Photo

LETTER: Mission RCMP Inspector says ‘safety of our citizens is my primary concern’

Insp. Annette Fellner says calls prioritized 'according to the level of threat to public safety'

This letter follows a story that appeared in the Mission City Record December 1, 2017, about the police and emergency communications response to an incident at a retail store in Mission’s business core November 30, 2017.

As the Officer-in-Charge of Mission RCMP, the safety of our citizens is my primary concern. I acknowledge the frustration expressed by the business owner. I continue to review the incident with my officers, emergency communications and the business owner.

I am writing this letter to share what I’ve learned about the incident so far because I believe it will provide our community with important insight into how calls for service are prioritized.

The delay in an on scene response to the business owner’s fraud complaint was an exception, one might even say a consequence of a perfect storm of multiple priority emergency calls. It began at approximately 3 p.m. with a person calling 911 to report a neighbor screaming for help and a possible abduction in progress. An abduction is a priority emergency call. As you can imagine, considerable effort and police resources were deployed to investigate and confirm the safety of the victim.

While officers investigated the abduction, a 911 call came in about a confirmed physical fight with up to 30 youths. Then, shortly after 4 p.m., Mission RCMP received a complaint from a person claiming to have a shotgun and threatening to use it near a retail outlet in Mission.

Around the same time, yet another 911 call came in about an intoxicated male on Hurd Street potentially endangering himself and motorists.

As these calls unfolded, 911 received the business owner’s call of a fraud in progress. Once 91-1 confirmed the safety of the people involved in this incident, the call was prioritized accordingly and this resulted in a two-hour delay in the response to the complaint.

The alleged fraudulent use of a credit card at the business owner’s store is now under investigation by the police, assisted by the high-quality video recording of the incident.

While police make every reasonable effort to respond quickly and efficiently to all complaints, we must prioritize our calls, according to the level of threat to public safety.

I would like to reassure you, that if someone is in physical danger, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police aims to provide an immediate response. We have other resources to draw from in emergency situations to ensure imminent threats and dangers to residents of our community are met with an immediate response.

The RCMP is accountable to you, the residents of Mission for the policing service it provides. I hope this letter explains why there was a delay in our response to the fraud complaint.

At any time, if anyone has concerns regarding policing within our community, the Mission RCMP welcomes your feedback and will work to address those issues with you.

Inspector Annette Fellner

Officer-in-Charge, Mission RCMP