RCMP workload in Yukon ‘not sustainable’, says superintendent

Posted on Posted in News from The Force

Detachment has relied on outside help from Alberta and B.C. as it investigates several homicides

By Philippe Morin, CBC News Posted: Jul 05, 2017 4:15 PM CT Last Updated: Jul 05, 2017 4:24 PM CT

RCMP Superintendent Brian Jones is the officer in charge of criminal operations in Yukon. He says the detachment has had to rely on help from Alberta and B.C. as it investigates several homicides.
RCMP Superintendent Brian Jones is the officer in charge of criminal operations in Yukon. He says the detachment has had to rely on help from Alberta and B.C. as it investigates several homicides. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

The Yukon RCMP’s superintendent says he’s thankful for outside help, but says the current situation is “not sustainable” when it comes to the territory’s policing. 

The force is dealing with several homicide investigations, and has called for support from other jurisdictions.

Brian Jones, the officer in charge of criminal operations in Yukon, says about ten officers flew in from Alberta last weekend. They provided help sweeping for evidence and conducting interviews. 

RCMP investigation Yukon
Police tape blocks a gravel road alongside the Alaska Highway outside Whitehorse, where 25-year-old Adam Cormack was found dead on June 28. A B.C. man has been charged with first degree murder. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Police tape blocks a gravel road alongside the Alaska Highway outside Whitehorse, where 25-year-old Adam Cormack was found dead on June 28. A B.C. man has been charged with first degree murder. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Now they’ve gone home.

Jones says the help was appreciated especially because rapid response is important in homicide investigations.

“Those investigators that have come up from Alberta and other places — they’re busy with their full-time jobs as well,” he says. 

This is not the first time the territory’s police force has called for outside help. And Jones thinks it suggests a larger problem with workload.

Yukon’s seven-person Major Crimes Unit has been involved in eight homicide investigations since last summer

“Long term, that type of energy and effort isn’t sustainable for our people,” Jones said. 

Yukon’s total RCMP force across different detachments has about 135 people. 

Less focus on historic cases

Jones says staff have been reassigned within the territorial force to work on new homicide cases. Staff from B.C. have also provided some help from afar.

However, Jones says a staffing crunch means other work is getting less attention. 

That work includes historic cases, such as those mentioned in recent hearings for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

“As each new homicide comes in, that’s the priority. They’re all important, but they all can’t be the priority on any given day. The historical cases we’re working on, they suffer,” he said.  

Of the eight homicide investigations started in the last year, four have lead to criminal charges. Nobody has yet been tried or convicted in court. 

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