Student ‘Mounties’ take down ‘suspects’

Mountie for a Day achieves both education and community outreach. The program for Grade 7 kid now includes almost all local agencies.

The RCMP chopper was used to spot a suspect who was trying to hide under the Ingram Bridge as four Grade 7 students took part in the 2014 Mountie for a Day action.

The RCMP chopper was used to spot a suspect who was trying to hide under the Ingram Bridge as four Grade 7 students took part in the 2014 Mountie for a Day action.

There was plenty of action this year for the four Grade 7 students chosen to be 2014 Mounties for a Day. Pilot Greg Burgess flew RCMP Air 3 helicopter from Kelowna to team up with local RCMP, highway rescue and ambulance to make the day even more exciting.

West Boundary Elementary students Riley Condon and Faith Zitko were joined by Greenwood Elementary’s Robert McLaren and Portia Grandmaison as ride-along RCMP Mounties. They had won the opportunity through a competition open to Grade 7 students each year. They had to prepare a poster, video or other presentation on a topic chosen by the organizers. This year’s topic was social media and all four students made posters.

Their day as police officers started at detachment headquarters in Midway where everyone was given a morning briefing. Notebooks and gear (including armoured vests) were passed around and then it was off to Deadwood Junction in Greenwood for coffee.

Randy Kappes next contacted the police to report his vehicle has been stolen from in front of The Spot so the kids were taken to Midway where they got a statement from him about the vehicle theft.

They then got a call from a Midway resident (played by Midway resident Fred Grouette) reporting that he had seen a woman (performed by Miranda Charles) cross the border on his property while he was out for a walk.

He was able to give police a description of the female he had seen, as well as the male driver (Ryan van Kuik) in a black van who stopped to give her a ride.

The kids learned how to take notes that could be used for later testimony, and to evidence, such as a beverage bottle that Grouette saw the border runner drop.

Lunch at Bored Room Bistro was the next item on the agenda and it included a debriefing session on the morning’s activities.

While there, a call came in from Granton Motors in Kettle Valley to report that a van had rolled.

It was turning out to be a pretty rough day for the bad guys because as it turns out this was the same vehicle reported stolen from The Spot that morning. The driver had been injured and members of road rescue and B.C. Ambulance responded to the accident scene to demonstrate for the kids how an injured person would be taken out of the van on a backboard. Les Claverly, Superintendent, Interior Districts for BC Ambulance was on hand as well.

Witnesses reported that a woman matching the border runner’s description was seen fleeing the accident scene.

RCMP called in the Air 3 helicopter and the runner was quickly spotted hiding under the Ingram Bridge. After a short chase she was captured and upon searching her backpack was found to be carrying “cocaine” and money.

At the end of the day both suspects were captured. Then everyone went to the Midway airport for a debriefing and an up-close look at the helicopter.

The bad guys were taken back to the detachment and the kids practiced proper fingerprint technique on each other. They got to keep their prints as a souvenir along with a T-shirt and a hat.

In past years the topic chosen for Mountie for a Day has included such things as Internet safety and preventing the abuse of drugs and alcohol. There have also been mock trials at the Greenwood Courthouse in the afternoon following the mock crime scene investigations of the morning.

The Midway Community Consultative Group (CCG) in cooperation with the Kootenay Boundary Regional RCMP Detachment – Midway Office, West Boundary Highway Rescue and the Midway unit of BC Ambulance sponsors the program.

The CCG holds regular meetings, giving participants the opportunity to air community concerns and work on solutions with the local RCMP.