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Ucluelet has a new top cop

Sgt. Kevin Smith is moving on
The Ucluelet RCMP detachment. (Westerly file photo)

Ucluelet’s top cop Sgt. Kevin Smith is transferring to 100 Mile House. His last day at the Ucluelet RCMP detachment was on Nov. 29.

During the Nov. 28 regular council meeting, Sgt. Smith told mayor and council that Cpl. Greg Young would be taking the helm of the Ucluelet RCMP detachment.

“It was a joy to be here and it’s sad to leave. Thank you for all the support. I’ll be back when I retire,” said Sgt. Smith.

According to Sgt. Smith, Ucluelet’s total file count in 2022 was 1,299, a 12 per cent drop from the 1,475 files they saw in 2021.

“That could be several contributing factors. We spent most of the summer short staffed with only three people, so our proactive work would have been down. But also I think we had a different demographic visiting Ucluelet than in the previous year. We had a lot less backcountry campers, a lot less theft. Our violent statistics are down and it was replaced with loss of property files, parking complaints, traffic complaints, things like that,” he said.

One area Ucluelet did see an increase in was the theft of catalytic converters. Over the summer, Ucluelet RCMP and the Tofino RCMP reported a rash of catalytic converters thefts.

“We had someone come into town and hitting six to 12 cars in a night and then leaving town again. But in the recent three months or so we haven’t had any thefts. That was our main file for the summer. It was becoming a weekly occurrence,” said Sgt. Smith.

He went on to tell mayor and council that a “good news story” came when the Ucluelet RCMP, with the help of the community watchdogs and social media, were able to arrest a group of people who were using counterfeit 100 dollar bills all over Vancouver Island.

“Don’t do crime in Ucluelet because the town will see it right away,” he said.

Heading into the New Year, Sgt. Smith says the Ucluelet RCMP detachment is fully staffed until May 2023 when Const. Yannick Harry, Ucluelet’s Indigenous Policing Section officer, is due out.

Councillor Jennifer Hoar asked if anyone would be replacing him.

“What usually happens is I send in a request four months before they transfer out. That initiated the process,” Sgt. Smith replied, noting that hopefully small towns like Ucluelet will see a windfall from the $230 million promised on Nov. 23, 2022 from the B.C. government to improve police staffing levels across the province.

RELATED: B.C. Premier Eby promises $230M in police funding for RCMP vacancies, new hires

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