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Head of Kamloops RCMP says COVID-19 mandate will not impact staffing in city, area

As of Oct. 29, all federal public servants, including RCMP members and reservists, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or face being placed on an unpaid leave of absence as early as Nov. 15. Those who refuse to disclose their status face the same consequences
Kamloops RCMP Supt. Syd Lecky
Kamloops RCMP Supt. Syd Lecky.

Kamloops’ top cop believes the majority of local RCMP officers are vaccinated, but the exact number won’t be clear by this Friday’s deadline for federal workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

As of Oct. 29, all federal public servants, including RCMP members and reservists, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or face being placed on an unpaid leave of absence as early as Nov. 15. Those who refuse to disclose their status face the same consequences.

According to the city’s 2020-2024 municipal financial plan document, there are 132 RCMP officers in the City of Kamloops, while another eight serve the community from the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Rural RCMP office — numbers that can fluctuate for various reasons from time to time.

RCMP Supt. Syd Lecky told KTW the majority of his officers are vaccinated against COVID-19, but did not provide an exact figure.

Lecky was not available for a requested interview before KTW’s press deadline, but provided a statement regarding vaccinations amongst the Kamloops police force, saying he doesn’t anticipate any significant fallout from the requirement.

“I don’t have numbers on how many people are vaccinated, but I think most police officers and staff are. We have Health Services that deal with the health side of our members; I deal with the operation performance side,” Lecky’s statement reads.

“Anecdotally, I can tell you the majority of people are vaccinated and I don’t have any significant concerns of it impacting resources in any degree.”

Lecky added he is sure there are people within the ranks that are against getting vaccinated, as in the community at large, but he hasn’t seen any noticeable impact from those who oppose vaccine or mask mandates.

Since Oct. 6, federal employees have been directed to provide their vaccine attestation through an online system, which they must complete by Oct. 29.

Kamloops RCMP Const. Crystal Evelyn told KTW that at this time, the detachment is not in a position to confirm how many RCMP employees have attested to their vaccination status, as the attestation period is ongoing. Evelyn said this information will be available later through the RCMP’s national headquarters, but did not specify a timeline for when that will be.

According to the federal government’s website, information on vaccination rates within the federal public service is expected to be available in the coming weeks.

Attestations will also be audited by individual departments and managers can ask for proof of vaccination at any time. Making a false statement on an attestation could result in disciplinary action, including termination, according to Ottawa.

Workers with just a single dose of vaccine will have up to 10 weeks to get their second before being placed on unpaid leave.There are 53 municipal employees who work out of the Kamloops RCMP detachments, according to the 2020-2024 financial plan document.

The City of Kamloops has said it will require proof of vaccination by Dec. 15 for all its workers, contractors and volunteers.