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City of Williams Lake
For Immediate Release
February 27, 2018
Council Requests Reinstatement of Electronic Monitoring Program
City of Williams Lake Council has submitted an open letter to all Provincial Court of British Columbia Judges; the Honourable David Eby, Attorney General; and the Honourable Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, expressing its concerns regarding sentencing for criminals conducting unlawful activities during the wildfire evacuations, as well as requesting reinstatement of the Electronic Monitoring Program.
Mayor Walt Cobb says, "Williams Lake residents have worked hard to combat crime in our community, and have come together to strive toward becoming a crime-free community. We have increased resources, including installing additional security cameras, and have changed policies and bylaws to provide the RCMP with extra tools. We have increased policing to full capacity, with the Province providing an additional six RCMP officers. The Community Policing volunteers have become a model for other communities in this province. During the evacuation, residents were significantly stressed, and sensitive to what happened during this crisis. For thieves to take advantage of this situation should not be tolerated."
Williams Lake RCMP arrested two individuals on July 11, 2017 during the evacuation order. A search warrant uncovered several other items that were believed to have been taken from evacuated homes. Several charges were stayed, and one of the criminals was sentenced to 12 months’ probation and house arrest.
During house arrest, the individual was arrested for domestic assault.
Councillor Scott Nelson states, "There is no question that the Electronic Monitoring Program must be reinstated, so that individuals on probation can be monitored 24/7. City Council was shocked to hear how many persons are not compliant with their bail release or probation conditions. It is of significant concern if these individuals are not where they have been directed to be by the courts, because we then have no idea where they are, or what they are doing, and the risk to re-offend is significantly increased."
City of Williams Lake Council has questioned why the former Electronic Monitoring Program is not currently employed, and whether there are any overwhelming reasons why it cannot be restored. The concern lies not just with the expense of monitoring, but with real unease about the activities of persons unlawfully at large, and the threat they pose to the citizens of our community.
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Kim Dressler, Executive Assistant