Message from Chief Constable Burkart

The Nelson Police Department has its eighteenth member!

Our newest recruit, Constable Lauren Mirva, is back to the department after graduating from the Justice Institute of BC on June 23. Constable Mirva has filled the position created when Police Services directed council to fund one additional sworn officer and a civilian position.

It has been over 2 ½ year since the Nelson Police Board first asked Council for the additional staffing.  Even after receiving approval to hire another member last April, Cst. Mirva’s training only began in September and then it took nine months before the her graduation in June.  During those nine months, the recruit member must work with an officer coach and is not to be considered a qualified member, so we were technically running that member short.

Last year and the beginning of this year was very hard on the department for injuries.  We had members off injured for 597 shifts last year which is equivalent to one and three quarter positions. With injured police members, it makes it very hard to staff shifts unless members are pulled from other positions or come in on overtime.  One of the first positions to be pulled was the beat officer position and we certainly saw this over the past year.

When we are short staffed, our members are working short-handed or working extra shifts to cover for those that are injured, and our community is not receiving a proper level of service….. and we have seen that in our downtown core these past 4 or 5 months.

But in this past month, with the swearing in of two new officers, Cst Andrew Hildred from Saanich Police and Cst Rob Armstrong who recently retired from the Toronto Police Service, as well as the return of our recruit officer, we will have, for the first time in our history, eighteen officers.  We still have one officer off injured and he will be off until 2018.  This was the result of an apprehension of a mental health client, which is unfortunately too common of an occurrence for policing departments.  About 2/3 of our injuries to members occur with our interaction with individuals with mental health concerns.

While in the past we would normally be running short with this injured member, we will not be doing that this summer. Cst. Armstrong will be filling in for the injured member from June until the end of September – which is typically our busiest time of the year. With this part-time temporary member, we will not be running short and will not be required to pull the beat officer from the downtown to cover for our patrol units.

We are an extremely busy police department.  We are always among the top two or three for criminal code charges per member among the municipal police departments.  Last year our dispatchers answered 18,000 telephone calls, 3100 911 calls, which included about 1500 911 calls for our department alone.  We looked after 870 prisoners in our cells, including almost 300 of our own arrests.  We answered 6300 calls for service in 2016. Oak Bay and Central Saanich Police Departments, the next two smallest police departments in the province both of whom have 24 police officers, had about 4300 calls for service each.  So our police officers are answering 30% more calls with 30% less staff.

To better support our civilian staff, we have implemented a telephone answering tree and will be reducing our front counter hours at the department.  With our department receiving 18,000 calls per year, we have been able to divert about 40% of calls to the appropriate department by using this telephone answering tree.  At present we are the only municipal department with a 24/7 front counter.  As of August 15, we will be reducing our hours from 8-6 pm Monday to Friday and from 10 am – 1 pm on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.


Canada 150 is no excuse to drink and drive, says ICBC and police

dont drink and drive

As we celebrate Canada’s 150th year anniversary this weekend and kick off the summer season, ICBC and police are urging drivers to plan ahead for a safe ride home if any of your activities this summer involve alcohol.

Each year in B.C., 66 people die in crashes involving impaired driving and nearly half of those deaths happen during summer months. On Canada Day, 180 people are injured and one person is killed in 640 crashes every year in B.C.

If you plan to drink, leave your car at home. With many options available – like arranging a designated driver, calling a taxi or taking transit—there’s no excuse to drink and drive.

LAW DAYS – APRIL 22, 2017 (10 AM-2 PM)

Law DaysNelson Courthouse – 320 Ward Street, Nelson, BC

EVERYONE is invited to attend Law Day Celebration at the Nelson Courthouse. There will be a number of educational activities and fun to be had by all.

Things to do:

  • TOUR the Courthouse and the jail cells with the Sheriffs
  • LEARN from Bylaw, Court Clerks, Conservation Officers, Law Enforcement, Lawyers, Sheriffs, Victims Assistance and Restorative Justice.
  • ENTER the COLOURING CONTEST for primary aged children and an ESSAY CONTEST for youth in Middle School and High School. For this year’s topic we are looking for a one page essay about how you view drugs and their effect on our community. Prizes to be won!
  • WATCH a mock trial, take part in a Bail Hearing, meet the Police Dog, or listen to Forensic Identification and Drug Recognition experts.
  • ENJOY refreshments and treats!

For questions or if you would like further information, please contact the nelson Court Registry at: 250-354-6165


posterThe Nelson Leafs are hosting a FIRST RESPONDERS Night on Saturday February 4th. The event starts at 5 PM with a Burger & Beverage at Finely’s and then the Leaf’s Game at 7 PM.

Tickets are $20 and includes Leaf’s Game admission, burger and beverage. Tickets can be purchased at Finley’s or by phone at 250-352-5121.



icbcImpaired driving remains a leading cause of fatal car crashes, with an average of 66 lives lost every year in B.C.

That’s why the B.C. government, police and ICBC are urging drivers to plan ahead and make smart decisions to get home safely this holiday season. Starting today, CounterAttack roadchecks will be set up by police across the province to keep impaired drivers off our roads throughout December.

ICBC is helping to prevent impaired driving this December with an education campaign, funding for CounterAttack Road Checks and get home safe promotion with businesses, sports facilities and community groups.

Get more stats and facts from ICBC’s infographic and learn more about the CounterAttack campaign on


Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure

“Getting home safely should be part of everyone’s holiday planning but the reality is that impaired driving remains a leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C.,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Do your part this Christmas season and look out for family and friends – take a stand and don’t let them get behind the wheel impaired.”

Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General

“We’ve made significant progress but too many people are still losing their lives due to impaired driving,” said Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “CounterAttack remains a key part of our provincial enforcement strategy to further reduce crashes involving alcohol and drugs and making our roads safer for British Columbians.”

Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business, Red Tape Reduction, and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch

“Protecting public health and safety is a critical part of our government’s ongoing efforts to modernize B.C.’s liquor laws,” said Coralee Oakes, Minister responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch. “With the holidays fast approaching, we are updating social responsibility materials in BC Liquor Stores throughout the province to remind British Columbians to make smart choices – plan ahead, have a designated driver or call a taxi if you plan on drinking. Please, for your safety and that of everyone around you, don’t drink and drive.”

Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee

“Police officers across the province will be working hard to keep impaired drivers off our roads this December,” said Chief Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “The hardest part of a police officer’s job is telling a family they’ve lost a loved one – a loss that could have been avoided. We can all help prevent these crashes by always planning a safe ride home.”

Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety

“We want everyone to enjoy the holidays with family and friends so make sure you plan ahead for a safe ride home,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety. “Whether you’re attending a holiday get-together or meeting friends to watch a game, arrange a designated driver, call a taxi, take transit or use Operation Red Nose.”


  • On average, 16 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in the Lower Mainland every year.
  • On average, 23 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in the Southern Interior every year.
  • On average, 10 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving on Vancouver Island every year.
  • On average, 19 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in North Central B.C. every year.

 *Based on five year average from police data (2011 to 2015). Impaired is defined to include alcohol, illicit drugs and medicines.

Nelson Restorative Justice & MIR Centre for Peace Presents: Katy Hutchison

Walking after Midnight: The Story of Bob
Katy Hutchison is restorative justice advocate with a compelling, real life story. Katy describes how alcohol and other drug use, bullying peer pressure, and misguided choices in an unchaperoned setting caused devastation to her family. Katy shares how this traumatic event impacted her as a wife and as a mother of two young children. Her presentation is designed to explore the dynamics that led to the events that changed everything for her and her family, and to empower communities to make healthier choices so similar tragedies can be prevented. Most importantly, she explores the power of forgiveness and describes her own grassroots quest for restorative justice.

Wednesday NOVEMBER 23, 2016, AT 7:00 PM
Civic Theatre, 719 Vernon St, Nelson
General Public $16 | Seniors $13 | Students $13
(Tickets are available at the door.)


We would like to express our thanks to Nelson Star, The Nelson Daily, Pennywise, Kootenay Coop Radio and EZ Rock for their generous donations of advertising for the Nelson Police Department Restorative Justice volunteer facilitator training.

We received many quality applications and have recently begun an eight week training program with 16 new volunteers. This is a very exciting time in the growth of the program which is establishing some excellent forward momentum.

We owe a great deal of gratitude to these businesses in supporting the valuable services that our community justice program provides.


Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General have announced the appointment of Ms. Elizabeth Edwards to the Nelson Police Board as the representative from the municipal council of the City of Nelson. Ms. Edwards’ term will end December 31, 2017.

The Nelson Police Board and Nelson Police Department wish to thank Director Roger Higgins for his contribution and dedication to the Board and wish him success in his future endeavors.