Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb and the city councillors are requesting the provincial government reinstate the use of electronic monitoring anklets for criminal offenders will help curb crime in the lakecity. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb and the city councillors are requesting the provincial government reinstate the use of electronic monitoring anklets for criminal offenders will help curb crime in the lakecity. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

VIDEO: B.C. mayor urges province to use 24/7 electronic monitoring for offenders

Local politicians pen letter to government asking for electronic monitoring system

Williams Lake city council is taking a bold step to tackle crime.

Led by Mayor Walt Cobb and City Councillor Scott Nelson, the City is asking the provincial government to support round-the-clock electronic monitoring for prolific offenders and others out on bail or probation.

The move comes after the recent sentencing of a wildfire looter in the Williams Lake provincial courts and is unanimously supported by all members of council, who penned a letter this week to the Provincial Court of British Columbia, the Attorney General David Eby and the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnsworth pushing for the use of electronic ankle bracelets.

“We have come to the end of our tether as far as putting up with people getting away with multiple crimes,” Mayor Walt Cobb said Tuesday. “We had someone break into our house one time who had been in court 72 times in 18 years. That is ridiculous.”

Noted for its recurring status as a crime capital, Williams Lake leaders have proactively been trying to reduce crime for years, Cobb said, but added the summer’s wildfires brought to everyone’s attention there were offenders awaiting trial with multiple charges out in the community.

In 2017, the RCMP did more than 850 checks on offenders who were out of jail on conditions, Cobb said, pointing out the strain on policing resources.

“That’s not a good use of police time,” Cobb said. “If we had the offenders wearing tracking anklets and they breached their conditions and went where they shouldn’t, an alarm would go off.”

Read More: Man sentenced for possession of goods looted during wildfires

City Councillor Scott Nelson said when individuals don’t comply with their bail or probation conditions, the risk they will offend is increased.

“Last year there were 320 fails to appear on conditions of breaches and curfews. If they are not where they are supposed to be, then they are running around our communities and getting lost in the system.”

A new new electronic supervision program to track criminal offenders called Buddi Ltd. has been used in some communities in B.C. so why not Williams Lake? Nelson asked.

“In 2016, Mike Farnsworth came out and endorsed it as the NDP public safety critic,” Nelson said. “Now that the NDP are in government, we are encouraging them and asking the minister to help us make our community a much safer place.”

Williams Lake Insp. Jeff Pelley said the RCMP are committed to enhancing the accountability of offenders on conditions before the courts and increasing community safety.

“We will continue to work with community stakeholders to ensure new technology and viable options can be pursued legally within the judicial system,” he said. “We are currently exploring new options and existing technology with our Crown Counsel and Community Correction partners involving the newer electronic monitoring system to determine if it is feasible in Williams Lake and can be applied for through the court system.”

In February 2016, city council proposed the use of GPS tracking, including a call for inject-able chips in response to an afternoon armed robbery of a teenager at the Boitanio skate park.

Read more: Councillors propose GPS tracking of offenders

This time, the call is simply for electronic anklets.

“This technology has been tested in Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and the U.S. and in B.C. it is already operational, but not here in Williams Lake,” Nelson said.

The monitoring devices will give the RCMP one more tool to help reduce crime and keep track of prolific offenders, some of which have 200 charges against them, Nelson added.

“We are not giving up, but gearing up.”

Pelley said the RCMP continue to work within their enforcement strategies to ensure compliance of bail conditions, sentences or the prevention of new offences with full accountability to the court system.

“I am aware of offenders being arrested, charged and released following bail hearings,” Pelley said.

Just Posted

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

sdaf
Lake Country home destroyed in large blaze, 11 dogs rescued

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

Festivals Kelowna president Richard Groves and executive director Renata Mills wrap themselves in the flag during the announcement of preparations for the 2018 Canada Day festival. (Alistair Waters/Capital News)
Festivals Kelowna cancels Canada Day celebrations for second year in a row

The group cited logistic issues in their announcement

Central Okanagan Public Schools is assisting with the distribution of a donation of $500 to every Grade 12 graduating student in the school district. (File photo)
Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads get $500 surprise

Anonymous donor gifts $500 to every Grade 12 student

A vehicle was fully engulfed in flames before around 11:10 p.m. Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Kerry Hutter - contributed)
UPDATE: Kelowna man cuffed after carjacking in Vernon

Crime spree: Man robs couple at Coldstream lookout at gunpoint, sets a vehicle ablaze

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

This photo of the small wildfire burning above Naramata was taken at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021 (Monique Tamminga Western News)
BC Wildfire on scene of small wildfire above Naramata

Smoke has been showing since earlier in the day

Students in the Grade 10 entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School have completed a cookbook with international recipes. (Contributed)
Summerland students create virtual international cookbook

Entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School uses virtual cookbook as fundraiser

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

Most Read