While staffing levels have since returned to normal, the Kamloops RCMP detachment had to shuffle staff to deal with a number of officers off work in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kamloops RCMP Supt. Syd Lecky called the period from mid-March to mid-April “spooky times,” noting staffing resources had to be manipulated to maintain frontline policing levels on streets.
Lecky told KTW that meant taking investigators from specialized units and putting them on the watch — out on patrol and responding to calls.
“There were lots of people off because if you had a cough or anything at all, we did not want you around here,” Lecky said.
“We also had people travelling, coming back from vacation out of the country, so they had to be off for a time, as well. It was impactful, for sure, at the start.”
Lecky noted information and best practices were changing regularly as experts worked to understand the novel coronavirus and how it spreads — a process that is ongoing.
“For example, we were told at one point, ‘You shouldn’t be interacting with the public — even pulling them over for a traffic stop,’” Lecky said. “It was pretty spooky times.”