Relatively tame Centre of Gravity weekend in Kelowna, say police

"Preliminary numbers show a decrease in the number of police calls for service in Kelowna, in the downtown core..."

Other than the drug dealers it was a pretty tame Centre of Gravity weekend for police.

Kelowna Mounties bulked up their presence this weekend with the help of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit  of British Columbia and the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams,  and it seemed to keep the troublemakers at bay, relatively speaking.

“Preliminary numbers show a decrease in the number of police calls for service in Kelowna, in the downtown core, including those related to public intoxication and drug related files, said Const. Jesse O’Donaghey, in a press release.

“During Centre of Gravity in 2015 Kelowna RCMP responded to approximately 384 calls for service in Kelowna’s downtown compared to approximately 257 in 2016.”

Over the weekend, a total of 83 prisoners were transported from Centre of Gravity to the Kelowna RCMP Detachment cellblock.

The bulk of arrests had to do with drugs.

“Officers with the Kelowna RCMP Street Enforcement Unit  were successful in targeting drug traffickers in and around the Centre of Gravity event grounds,” he said.

“Plain clothes officers witnessed several apparent hand to hand drug transactions which resulted in the arrest of the dealers and subsequent seizure of suspected illicit drugs packaged and ready for sale.”

In one case, officers watched as an alleged drug dealer entered into a porta potty on site with suspected buyers to complete the drug transaction.

“The suspect, a 28-year-old Kelowna man, was arrested upon exiting the portable toilet,” said O’Donaghey. “He was found in possession of nearly 20 grams of suspect MDMA, a digital scale and a large amount of cash.”

In some cases event goers were providing uniformed officers at the event information regarding individuals suspected of dealing drugs. The suspects arrested, predominantly from the Lower Mainland including Maple Ridge, Langley and Vancouver, each face potential charges of trafficking in a controlled substance under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Officers with the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team encountered an Alberta man wanted in Alberta on several outstanding warrants for his arrest. The man, who provided false names to police, was arrested for obstruction and found in possession of a controlled substance contrary to conditions related to a Court ordered Recognizance.

Officers with ALERT-AB arranged to have the Alberta man’s warrants extended to British Columbia. He was held in police custody over the weekend. He is expected to appear in Kelowna Court this morning, facing additional charges of breach of recognizance, obstruction and possession of a controlled substance.

Another substance related instance had to do with  an intoxicated 19-year-old man from Invermere being arrested after he  interfering with officers arresting an intoxicated individual.

“The man who had flipped a table over, also smashed out the rear window of a marked police vehicle at the event. He was later released from police custody on a Promise to Appear in Court in October facing potential charges of mischief,” he said.

The Kelowna RCMP Municipal Traffic Section, RCMP Central Okanagan Traffic Services and RCMP Integrated Road Safety Unit  conducted enhanced enforcement along the highways and in Kelowna’s downtown core. Traffic officers issued several Immediate Roadside Prohibitions, effectively removing impaired drivers from the roadway.

“The Kelowna RCMP would like to extend their thanks to CFSEU-BC, ALERT-AB, the organizers and staff of Centre of Gravity and the general public for all doing their part to ensure this year’s event was safe for all who attended,” said Cst. Jesse O’Donaghey.