This year’s Roots & Blues may not have required the same policing effort as Sturgis North, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t room for improvement.
In his recent quarterly report to the city, Salmon Arm RCMP Staff Sgt. Kevin Keane obliged a request from council for local policing comparing the two events.
Regarding the five-day Sturgis event, 14-daily shifts were allocated with officers moved from other duties as well as working on an overtime basis. During the time of the event, there were 151 calls for service. Keane noted that not all of these were related to Sturgis.
Specific figures related to Sturgis are as follows: 43 people were arrested and held in cells overnight, the majority for causing disturbances, public intoxication and assault. Police issued 24 administrative driving prohibitions for suspected impaired and 145 violations tickets for motor vehicle infractions.
There were 16 drug seizures, two motorbikes impounded for stunting and two for street racing. One woman wearing only a hat, socks and a g-string was spoken to by police for public nudity, but was not arrested.
Four Hells Angels were reported to be at the Sturgis site, including the White Rock chapter, which was operating a vending booth. But there was no trouble from any of these groups.
The total cost of policing for the Salmon Arm RCMP was $34,000. This excludes the cost for other policing units present at the event.
For the three-days of Roots & Blues, nine officers were staffed on an overtime basis with assistance from officers on their regular shifts. During this time period, there were 111 calls for service (again, not all related to the event), six impaired driving investigations were conducted and 20 prisoners housed.
The total cost of policing for the 2011 Roots & Blues was $5,500.
As he did with Sturgis, Keane went on to identify areas of concern with Roots & Blues. He said the majority of intoxication issues this year stemmed from the campground area, spilling over onto the event site and other areas.
“Simply, people are drinking to excess at the campground and then exiting back into the public areas,” said Keane, adding several people, predominantly youth, were found on the event grounds in possession of alcohol.
Security around the perimeter gate also requires attention.
Overall, however, he said the RCMP “enjoy a good working relationship” with Roots & Blues.
“We’ll continue to look at the issues and just make them better,” he said.
Later in his report, Keane noted the detachment currently has three officers on leave, including one whose shoulder was dislocated while attempting an arrest of an intoxicated Vancouver man at Sturgis. That officer requires surgery and is not expected to be fully recovered until next summer.
Keane said a warrant was put out for the arrest of the Vancouver man, who was later picked up in that city for sexual assault.
“It gives us some degree of satisfaction now he’s in jail,” Keane commented.