Another quiet New Year’s for RCMP 

Whistler was relatively tame ringing in the 2010 New Year, with RCMP officers only arresting 31 people for being drunk in public and causing a disturbance.

Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair attributes the quiet New Year to people being more aware of the heavy police presence in Whistler now on busy weekends like First Night and May Long Weekend.

"This is my third New Year's here, and this one was certainly quieter than last year and the year before that," said LeClair. "It was a nice family vibe in the village, and then of course, later in the evening, the families were replaced by young revelers. But for the most part people were very well behaved."

Between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., there were 96 files, which included calls for service and people being drunk in public.

In Whistler Village, 16 of the 35 people arrested received tickets under the Liquor Control Licensing Act for being drunk in public, and the bylaw department issued 35 tickets for open liquor and one for obstructing a police officer.

LeClair added on the roads, there were 11 charges under the Motor Vehicle Act for various traffic offenses, including failure to wear seatbelts, failure to produce insurance and moving violations, and there were three 24-hour suspensions issued due to alcohol. Also, there were two Motor Vehicle Act Warnings.

RCMP officers also attended a few noisy house parties in some of Whistler's subdivisions, but they didn't issue any bylaw tickets and there were no reports of any assaults throughout Whistler.

Last year 35 people were arrested. In 2008 there were 40 arrests; in 2007 there were 33 arrests and in 2006 there were 21. All these numbers are significantly down from 2001, when RMCP officers arrested a total of 106 people.

Snowboarders got lost in backcountry

The Whistler RCMP is reminding anyone who travels into the backcountry this winter to make sure they have proper equipment, training and knowledge of the area.

The warning comes after two seasonal foreign workers got lost in the backcountry of Whistler Mountain on Sunday, Jan. 3 rd , at 2 p.m.

The boarders, aged 21 and 22, hiked up the Flute summit for 50 to 60 metres before going under the ropes, said Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair. They rode down the backside of Flute before realizing they were lost.

LeClair said the snowboarders were not equipped for backcountry travel, and they didn't have shovels, avalanche beacons, probes, snowshoes or split boards with skins.

After getting lost, the two boarders called a friend by cell phone, who then contacted ski patrol. A search was then coordinated with RCMP officers who were already on the mountain doing police ski patrol duties.

They were eventually found by a backcountry skier named Darren Routley who guided them to safety along Singing Pass Trail. They made it out at 4:45 p.m. at the bottom of Whistler.

LeClair added the incident had nothing to do with the Symphony Express chair being closed that day.

 

No more driving and texting

Attention drivers: it is now against the law to use a cell phone while driving, unless it's a hands-free device.

Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair reminded people that as of Jan. 1, 2010, drivers cannot send or read text messages or e-mails, cannot make or receive calls unless using a hands-free device and cannot hold or operate any electronic devices.

Learners and novice drivers cannot operate cell phones at all, even if they are hands-free.

During January, RCMP officers will issue warnings to drivers caught using cell phones or other hand held electronic devices, said LeClair. Beginning in February, officers will be issuing tickets worth $167 and three penalty points.

"This month certainly is an adjustment period but after that people can expect to be issued a violation ticket if they are caught committing the offense," said LeClair, who now has a hands-free cell phone device with voice activation.

He added that even with the one-month grace period, he thinks people will abide by the new laws.

"Friends of mine are complying, and people I know from all walks of life in Whistler are well aware of the penalties and the implications," he said.

 

RCMP crack down on impaired drivers

RCMP officers are recommending charging two people with impaired operation of motor vehicles and refusing to provide breath samples, following two separate incidents on Wednesday, Dec. 30.

Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair said at 1:16 a.m. a Whistler police officer making routine patrols saw a vehicle drive through a stop sign. The officer stopped the vehicle and gave the driver an alcohol-screening device, which resulted in a fail. The 46-year-old Washington state female then refused to provide breath samples.

Later that morning, at 1:23, an officer in Pemberton saw a vehicle depart from a hotel and make several driving infractions including fish tailing, failing to stop at a stop sign and failing to signal.

The officer stopped the vehicle, and the 30-year-old Pemberton male driver agreed to provide a breath sample. However, after eight attempts, the driver still was not able to provide a sample.

Failing to provide breath samples is an offense under the Criminal Code, said LeClair.

 

RCMP on lookout for credit card scammers

Whistler RCMP officers are on the lookout for three people who tried to use two denied credit cards on Wednesday, Dec. 30.

According to Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair, at 5:45 p.m., a Filipino male, a Filipino female and Caucasian female entered a store in the village and tried to make a large purchase using two Visa cards, which were both denied.

The three people then left the store, but one of them left behind a cell phone.

LeClair said police are following up with the cell phone to track down the suspects.

Volkswagen stolen

On Monday, Jan. 4, at about 2:45 p.m., Whistler RCMP officers received a report that a car had been stolen from a hotel underground parking lot in the village.

Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair said the car was parked at 7 a.m. and later discovered missing by the owner's friend. The car is a 2001 black Volkswagen Jetta with the B.C. license plate number 366NJH.

 

 

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