Local Mounties put the coffee on for Osoyoos residents Monday, inviting them to come in for a friendly chat at the local McDonalds.
“I would say we probably had 30 or 40 people come out,” said Sgt. Jason Bayda, the Osoyoos detachment’s commander. “Some just just briefly came to say hello and introduce themselves and others sat down and spent some time with us.”
He, along with Cpl. Dave Smith and two other officers from the Penticton detachment — including Supt. Ted De Jager and Cst. James Grandy — spent much of the Coffee with a Cop morning at the local restaurant talking about local policing concerns, including property theft.
“A few people did talk about it, but not as much as I expected,” said Sgt. Bayda. “Certainly we know that’s on everyone’s minds. It’s on our minds as well. Until this opioid crisis gets under control, we’re going to see thefts. It’s all part and parcel of the problem.”
He was quick to add, though, that putting people in jail wasn’t going to solve the problem.
“When people are addicted to the opioids, they get out of jail and they’re often still addicted,” he explained. “It’s a vicious cycle, they’re going to be committing crime and we’re going to be looking for them. A lot of the people we’re putting in jail today are the same people we put in jail six months ago or a year ago.”
Cpl. Smith said a big part of Monday’s effort was providing information to people on what they can do to keep their homes and property safe.
“We we’re able to offer some suggestions in that regard,” he said.
Sgt. Bayda expected Coffee with a Cop will become a regular occurrence in the South Okanagan, rotating through the region.
“We’ll be doing these every four or five months in Osoyoos,” he said. “Overall, it was great opportunity to meet people and have a way for people to meet us.
“A lot of times people don’t want to come to the attachment to meet us or walk up to us in the street, so this gave them an opportunity to do that.”