Mounties in Grand Forks and the West Boundary are encouraging the public to “make the right” call when it comes to non-emergencies.
Phoning 911 to report things like suspicious vehicles or noise complaints unnecessarily ties up dispatch operators who need to focus on urgent calls, Grand Forks RCMP’s Sgt. Darryl Peppler told the Gazette.
Peppler qualified that Mounties aren’t hoping for fewer calls, only that people put their calls to the proper channels. “We want to educate people in the hope that they’ll understand when to use 911 and when to use other resources,” he explained.
“If you see a crime in progress or you need to report a serious injury, then please, by all means call 911,” he said. He then pointed to a certain “grey area” where callers think they should phone 911 when they should contact the detachment’s 24-hour non-emergency line at 250-442-8288.
Use that number to report suspicious activity or neighbourhood disputes within reason, he said.
The need for greater awareness is particularly acute as the summer heats up for first responders across the province, literally and figuratively.
Speaking for the Lower Mainland’s Emergency Communications Centre, Jasmine Bradley told the Gazette that many complaints shouldn’t go to police at all. Of the more than 240,000 non-emergency calls to area non-emergency lines so far in 2021, Bradley said more than a third (36 per cent) had to be redirected to agencies that have nothing to do with law enforcement, adding to wait times for emergency services.
Peppler and Bradley want the public to know they need to report non-emergencies to the proper authorities. If you feel you’ve been targeted by a scam, but haven’t lost any money or given out any personal information, call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.
If you’ve been in a roadside collision where no one’s been hurt, call ICBC’s claim centre at 1-800-910-4222 or make a report online. And call the 24/hr Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or #7277 on the Telus Mobility Network if you see a wild animal in distress or if you need to report suspected illegal hunting or dumping.
Sgt. Peppler is meanwhile asking Grand Forks and area residents to log the detachment’s non-emergency line into their cell phones.
For the sake of convenience, please consult the following list of non-emergency numbers.
Grand Forks RCMP’s 24/7 non-emergency line: 250-442-8288
Midway RCMP’s 24/7 non-emergency line: 250-449-2244
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre: 1-888-495-8501
RAPP line: 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or #7277 on the Telus Mobility Network
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO): 1-800-465-4336 (for suspected fishing violations related to salmon)
ICBC Claims Centre: 1-800-910-4222 or icbc.com/claims/report-view
For suspected bylaw offences in the City of Grand Forks: 250-442-8266
For suspected bylaw offences in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB): 250-368-0283 or toll-free at 1-800-355-7352.