We’ve got your back

Oak Bay Police respond to Saanich calls for assistance

A long queue of calls filled the Saanich dispatcher’s screen. With Saanich police officers already deployed on other matters, she knew these ones would wait too long.

The dispatcher decided to invoke an informal longstanding procedure calling in Oak Bay Police for assistance, and they responded, crossing over the boundary to lend a hand.

While not a regular occurrence, the mutual cooperation of the Saanich Police, Oak Bay Police and the Victoria Police Department is not unusual.

“It’s not a part of a formal agreement that it happens,” said Deputy Chief Kent Thom of the Oak Bay Police. “We have just informally agreed that we would cooperate to make it happen when it’s required.”

The process for that cooperative policing to be initiated initially seems a bit cumbersome, but according to Thom, it works remarkably well.

“We share a dispatcher with Saanich,” explained Thom. “If they see that a situation has developed where they have calls waiting on the screen that can’t be addressed by one of our forces, and there are free personnel available across the boundary, that dispatcher will make a call to the appropriate duty watch commander and ask for clearance to direct those calls to our people.”

Those redeployments to calls outside municipal boundaries work both ways. “Sometimes it’s us who needs the help,” said Thom.

The situation with Victoria police is slightly different.

“We don’t share dispatch with them,” said Thom. “So their dispatcher will either call our dispatcher or directly contact the appropriate duty watch commander. After that the process is the same.”

In some cases it’s the officers themselves who take the initiative.

“Most of our officers will take an additional radio with them so that they can hear the calls happening across the boundaries in the adjacent municipalities. That way they can be aware of a potential perpetrator crossing into Oak Bay after committing an offence in Saanich, for example.”

The officers can also be aware that a call for service in Saanich can’t be addressed immediately. If they are close by and free to do so, they will call for clearance to take the call, said Thom.

Other police services in the three communities are designed for mutual cooperation. Under the Memorandum of Understanding between Saanich and Oak Bay officers cooperate and work together for major case investigation, Internet technology services, dog handlers, emergency response, the integrated road safety unit, and other services that transcend the municipal boundaries of the respective forces. In some cases, members of all or some of the other Greater Victoria municipalities are party to agreements that allows them to contribute to these cooperative enforcement units.

Information on the Oak Bay Police Department services can be found at Oakbaypolice.org.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Homes fit for royals for sale in North Saanich

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have returned to Greater Victoria

Gold Rush star dons Lucky Lager shirt in latest episode

Brennan Ruault, originally from Invermere, joined the show in the sixth season

VIDEO: Dashcam records near-miss by bad driver near Sooke

Driver crossed four lanes of traffic and back over again, barely missing three other vehicles

VIDEO: Protesters block entrance to Victoria government building to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

Activists want Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs demands to be upheld, observed and respected

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Police suspect foul play in Cowichan Tribes death

Police are looking at foul play in relation to a death on… Continue reading

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

Most Read