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Nanaimo RCMP find ‘heart-breaking’ circumstances during wellness checks

Police offer sampling of outcomes from well-being checks over recent weeks
Police in Nanaimo never know what they’ll encounter when called upon to check on the well-being of people. (News Bulletin file photo)

On any given day, RCMP members in Nanaimo respond to 150-200 calls for service and sometimes more than a dozen of those calls are to check on the well-being of people.

Often the calls come from relatives who have been unable to contact family members and others might be to check on marginalized people who need assistance to ensure their safety, said RCMP in a press release Thursday.

“Some are humorous, while others are heart-breakingly sad,” the release noted. “At the end of the day, and regardless of the nature of the call, our officers will utilize their training and draw on their compassion and professionalism to treat each person with the respect and empathy they deserve.”

Police offered sampling of outcomes from well-being checks over recent weeks:

Nanaimo file No. 20202-38461

The morning of Oct. 21, officers responded to several 911 calls about a naked man running randomly through city streets. The only description provided was that he was large and hairy.

The first sighting came in around 6:30 a.m. in the downtown core. Police patrols were unable to locate the suspect, but just before noon, reports started coming in about a naked man running around Port Drive. Responding officers quickly deduced this was the same man from the earlier complaints.

The subject of the search was eventually located amongst some rail cars and promptly arrested for causing a disturbance.

“While being led away with a blanket draped over his torso, the man was overheard saying that he was not making the best of decisions; no argument was offered by the officers,” noted RCMP in the release.

Nanaimo file No. 2020-38553

On the evening of Oct. 21, officers were called to assist B.C. Ambulance Service paramedics with an unruly, highly intoxicated female who had fallen multiple times and sustained numerous cuts and abrasions.

When police arrived they managed to open up a dialogue with her and convinced her that she was not going to jail and everyone was there simply to help her. The time spent in conversation allowed paramedics to patch her up and transport her without incident to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital for a medical assessment.

Nanaimo file No. 2020-41167

Just before 9 p.m. on Nov. 12, officers responded to a report of an intoxicated man on Front Street.

“When they arrived they found an individual, well known to them, and in an extremely intoxicated state. The man was soaked to the core and his clothes offered no protection from the elements,” the release noted.

Shelters in Nanaimo were full and were not accepting any more clients for the evening, police said, and with no other options available, the officers arrested the man under the Liquor Control and Licensing Act and transported him to the local detachment where he was given fresh warm clothes “and a safe and secure cell to sleep for the remainder of the evening.”

RCMP notified outreach workers in Nanaimo to advise them of the individual’s situation.

Nanaimo file No. 2020-41191

Just before 2 a.m. on Nov. 13, police responded to a report of a woman sitting on the side of the road along the old Island Highway in north Nanaimo.

“With freezing rain whipping in their faces, they made their way to an visibly drenched and shaking woman who was hugging her legs in an attempt to stay warm,” the release noted. “She told the officers she had no money and had nowhere to go.”

The officers managed to convince the woman to allow them to take her to a local shelter for the night, where she was provided with warm dry clothes, a clean bed and a hot drink, police say.

This was one of just six check well-being files that officers responded to in a 24-hour period that week.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo RCMP detachment selects new mental health liaison officer
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