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Posted: June 5, 2014

Bear jams still a problem in national park

ssgtmshehovacColumbia Valley RCMP Report

By S/Sgt. Marko Shehovac

The Columbia Valley RCMP Detachment, as well as Kootenay National Park Wardens, are experiencing a number of bear jams in the park where numerous vehicles will come to a halt to observe bears in their environment.

In particular we are having numerous sightings of a mama grizzly and two cubs. Public safety is a priority as well as protection of the bears. I am a realistic person and well aware that it is exciting to observe the bears and we will not be able to put a stop to vehicles pulling over.

In a recent incident when people were out of their cars approaching the bears at close range the officer reverted to putting his siren on to have the bears move on.  We are being educated by the Wardens and Conservation Officers that this is not the desirable method to deal with this problem. As a result, we will come up with another option to deal with this problem. It may have to do with Mama Bear in the car not happy with Papa Bear for not obeying the direction of a police officer if the scenario we see is risky enough for us to take appropriate action. Stay in the car.


RCMPcakeThe Detachment Open House was a huge success.

I would like to thank our major sponsors of this event. Windermere Lions Club who host the dinner, fingerprinting of the kids as well as setting up the event. Home Hardware and Canadian Tire for sponsoring prizes for the grade three classes who complete posters for me every year. Tim Hortons for the treats. I would like to thank all the officers who helped out with special thanks to Grant for putting up with the heat in his tac gear as well as Cpl. Phil Sullivan and Cst. Chris Ralph for doing the police dog session. Thanks to all who attended to make this a success. My guess is around 160-180 people turned out.

Hit and run investigated

At 6:30 p.m. on May 30, Columbia Valley Detachment members attended to a complaint of hit and run at the intersection of Laurier Street and Panorama Drive.  A vehicle made an abrupt stop and was hit in the rear by a 2009 Jeep driven by a 54-year-old male from Fairmont Hot Springs. The driver of the Escalade that was hit was driven by a 44-year-old male from Alberta, who left the scene of the accident. This driver later contacted the detachment, which allowed the police to complete the investigation.

Noise complaint in Fairmont

At 11:35 p.m. on May 30, the detachment received a complaint of a noisy party in the 4700 block of River Drive in Fairmont. On police attendance the noise was no longer detected. Patrols of the area proved negative.

Invermere man arrested for assault

At 1:06 a.m. on May 31 Columbia Valley Detachment responded to a complaint of domestic assault in Windermere. A 39-year-old male from Invermere was arrested and charged with assault.

Drunk in public at Tim Hortons

At 11:49 p.m. on May 31, the detachment received a complaint of a male sleeping and then wandering around the property of Tim Hortons. On attendance the officers located a 26-year-old male from Invermere in a highly intoxicated state. The male was arrested and charged for drunk in public and lodged in cells until sober.

Using cover

In a recent story I mentioned the training we receive where I went into a shoot-don’t-shoot scenario and almost shot the instructor who was carrying a red flashlight.

It reminded me of an incident that happened three years ago during similar training. Without going into great detail as I previously did, we are suited up for protection as the training projectiles do hurt when hit. The bad guy is also suited up to protect him/her. In this scenario I worked with a partner.

At the time I had about 35 years service while my female partner was very junior in service. I’ve been through these scenarios before; this was her first time.  Heart is pounding as they make it real. The instructors always stress using cover to protect your body. In this instance it was a nighttime scenario, so all lights were out.

The bad guy comes out with a gun and he cocks the gun and is bringing it up. I use the door for cover and not obeying our instructions we fire on the fellow and drop him. We win, good guys live bad guy has problems.

The instructor requests that we freeze in our position. As this is training and we learn from our mistakes, he goes on to explain that I am using the door as good cover. He looks at my partner and asks what’s your cover?

It was brought to our attention that my partner was using me for cover and shooting over my shoulder, which explained why my ear was ringing. My partner took this seriously to heart and before anything further could be said I interrupted the instructor and said, “I’m ok with this, I’ve had a long productive and rewarding career and a good life, she has a long way to go, I have no problem with this.” A true hero.

Lead image: A mother grizzly and her two cubs have become a popular attraction in Kootenay National Park, creating ‘bear jams’ along Highway 93 in the Olive Lake area. Photo by Parks Canada / By S. Wasylowich

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