Local RCMP say 40th Ukee Days smoothest policing ever

With little work to do over the Ukee Days weekend, Ucluelet’s expanded police force spent most of their time chilling on the festival’s positive vibrations. “It was by far the best Ukee Days this town, I think, has ever hosted,” said Sgt. Jeff Swann of the Ucluelet RCMP.

In preparation for the event, the Ucluelet RCMP called in reinforcements from other Island detachments but these officers were more part of the crowd than controlling it, according to Swann. “We were spectators; we had no work to do, we honestly didn’t, it was such a well-behaved crowd,” he said.

He touted the event’s organization as a key reason for its success and thanked Ucluelet’s director of Parks and Recreation Abby Fortune and her army of volunteers. “They just did such a wonderful job,” he said.

This year’s festival saw a change from a crowd control perspective as new liquor laws meant alcohol was not confined to the beer garden area.

“That changed the dynamics for us in a positive way…You see more

moms and dads enjoying a nice cold drink and not everybody jammed into the beer garden,” Swann said. “You can walk around, you can have a hamburger with a cold beer and sit down and enjoy it in a respectful, polite, fashion and that’s what we experienced.”

He said no major incidents were reported over the weekend and he harkened back to 2013’s first annual Otalith Music Festival as another example of Ucluelet’s knack for hosting fun events that don’t bring problems.

“Just like the Otalith music festival, you get this many people in for a music festival and liquor sanctioned event and you sort of expect trouble and it’s not there,” he said.

One of the police officers brought

in from out of town was Const.

Stephen Miles of the Nanaimo RCMP who was a member of the Ucluelet RCMP from 2005-2009.

“I’m familiar with the community

and it was always a great place for me and my family so when Jeff asked me if I would be willing to come back and police on the weekend I absolutely jumped at the

opportunity,” he said.

Miles has policed through Ukee Days in the past and was delighted to see this year’s absence of trouble.

“Last year I came out and there were quite a few incidents that were problematic but this year it was absolutely smooth sailing,” he said. “I almost felt guilty for getting paid for working out here, it was the easiest weekend I think I’ve ever worked; it was fantastic.”

Swann said Miles was not alone in this feeling.

“That’s how we all felt, it was a fun experience and just super well organized.”

reporter@westerlynews.ca Left, local RCMP members take part in the Ukee Days parade.

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