ASSISTANT Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, Acting Commanding Officer of the BC RCMP, on Wednesday issued the following statement on COVID-19 pandemic:
WITH the ever fluid and evolving global health situation, and the Provincial government today declaring a state of emergency, the BC RCMP continues to work closely with the local, provincial, and national health agencies to monitor and respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
I understand that these are uncertain times. As an emergency response agency, the BC RCMP are continuing to work through this. We have existing protocols and procedures that deal with emergency situations, and that includes pandemics. Our police officers deal with exposure to communicable diseases and other hazards regularly, so our training and procedures have always focussed on reducing those risks, to ourselves and the communities we serve. It is about planning, preparation, prevention, and protection.
As a result of this preparation, the Division Emergency Operations Centre (DEOC) is active, and is monitoring and overseeing the coordination of police resources at the Provincial and National level. This includes monitoring our business continuity plans, assessing our essential service levels and equipment, providing updates on our safety and prevention measures to our employees and collaborating with our partners.
At the local policing level our Detachments are continuing to provide policing services and ensuring community safety. Detachments are continually assessing their service and program options, and where necessary, reducing front counter services, cancelling events, and enhancing their precautions.
We have also instructed our police officers and personnel around what safety measures should be taken when interacting with individuals at greater risk, what officers should do if they come in contact with an individual suspected of being infected, and when, where, and how they should use the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
As an employer, we are also here to support all our employees. We continue to provide employees with regular updates, implement prevention measures within the workplace, and are supporting telework options. At this time, for everyone, education on this matter is so important. By increasing employee awareness around proper hygiene etiquette and health protocols we can do our part during this health emergency.
These are truly unprecedented times. We are asking you for patience and understanding. And more importantly, we are asking for your support. We are all members of the community and all of us and our loved ones are being affected by this global pandemic. Everyone has a role to play in response to mitigating this health issue. We are committed to ensuring that the BC RCMP will be there when British Columbians need us. Public safety is our priority. As our province takes measures to flatten the curve of COVID-19, we thank the public for their mindfulness and cooperation.