Westman RCMP Detachment is cognizant of how the pandemic has raised the levels of anxiety and stress among people. At the risk of sounding like a political statement that’s been carefully crafted, these are unprecedented & difficult times. COVID has polarized some segments of the population and there are people on the many sides of this issue who are passionate about their position on the realities, politics, medical opinions, and the country’s collective response to the pandemic. The RCMP has no position on any of these because whatever we picked would be wrong to somebody somewhere and we’d end up on CBC yet again.
With that, we do want to inform the public we were approached by some local governments for input regarding the opportunity for provincial funding for individuals employed by the Province who have since been affectionately known as “COVID Cops”.
Outside of working with Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) and conducting checks on people who entered Canada and were required to quarantine, we have had very few reports from our relatively large area (more square miles than PEI) in relation to the ongoing Public Health Orders.
We were appreciative for the opportunity to be consulted and given the low numbers of these incidents did not feel more support was needed from an external enforcement perspective. To put it bluntly, we aren’t getting a bunch of calls about people violating the public health orders and don’t feel we need more help enforcing the ongoing Public Health Order.
There is nobody in our Detachment area that is currently employed as a “COVID cop”.
We appreciate the people in our area adapting their lives to make that the case.
We know that doesn’t meant violations aren’t happening, and we also know that what some people might see as a violation may very well have a legal and rational reason. I’m not going to get into the variables that could be at play that would allow for people to be in the same area/building/quarter section etc. … but suffice to say, if you’re in a public building you need to wear a mask.
If you don’t want to wear a mask then don’t go into that business. If you make a fuss and we have to come, chances are a ticket will be issued to the tune of $298. No fun for us either, so don’t make it weird. Businesses have to insist on this to remain open, and I’m pretty sure some of them aren’t happy about it either, but they’re doing it to try and make a living which we should be able to collectively respect.
The province declared a State of Emergency on March 20 in response to the pandemic. Your assistance in preventing the spread of COVID-19 is appreciated.
Should you feel the need to report an incident, your first stop should be at the Manitoba Government website and their COVID tip line reporting form: https://forms.gov.mb.ca/covid-tip-line/
If you aren’t an internet savvy person, you can call 1-877-311-4974.
For questions or clarification on the rules we’ll refer you to the Provincial website and phone number to make a report. If there’s a big house party reported then obviously, we’ll be checking it out and if we have to write some coupons for lawless behavior we will.
On behalf of Westman Detachment members, I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, or Happy Festivus… Please enjoy a safe, law-abiding, and responsibly celebrated holiday season.
All the best in 2021!
D.S. (Scott) Fefchak, Sgt. Ops NCO
Westman Detachment, Virden, MB