FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. -Fort St. John RCMP and B.C. Conservation Officers are teaming up to share expertise in the backcountry, as the RCMP patrols over 46,000 square kilometres of towns and forests.
The two agencies often work together for backwoods patrol, ride check programs looking for impaired drivers, illegally harvested animals, and firearms violations.
RCMP Sergeant Tim Paulmert has been in Fort St. John for over 17 years, and he has consistently worked with conservation officers throughout northeastern B.C.
“Each agency has its own priorities and enforcement goals, but the work crosses over quite a bit,” Paulmert says.
By sharing knowledge and expertise in their field, both agencies can work efficiently deep in the forest. For example, last November, Constable Stephen Adams was working in the Muskwa-Kechika Access Management Area, so he reached out to the Conservation Officer Service for advice on the area.
“They know a lot of the details about the rural areas that we may not be privy to at the detachment in Fort St. John, ” says Adams.
Using an RCMP helicopter to reach deep into the forest, Adams and Conservation Officer Tristan Montjoy did public compliance checks for hunting regulations and off-road vehicle restrictions.
Adams says learning from the conservation officers allows RCMP to quickly identify evidence of poaching.
“Unfortunately, poaching is a problem here, so it’s important for our RCMP members to learn from conservation officers about the enforcement powers surrounding it and how to identify a poached animal.”
It’s not just deep in the forest where these two agencies meet. Often when animals roam into town, an animal is hit by a vehicle, or a human-wildlife interaction is reported, RCMP will call conservation officers to assist with the incident.
Last summer, a family of bears was feeding on backyard fruit bushes in Fort St. John. RCMP officers helped steer the public away from the bears, while conservation officers tranquillized and captured the family to be safely relocated outside of town.
“When we’re dealing with bears, it’s good to have extra hands around,” says Montjoy.
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