Kimberley RCMP has called in extra members from other detachments to boost their numbers for JulyFest, and they will be a visible presence at the bocce pits this weekend.
“We will have extra people again,” said Sgt. Laurie Jalbert of the Kimberley detachment. “We scaled back a tiny bit. We have had up to 21 members; this year there will 18.”
Those 18 officers will mainly be on foot in and around the bocce pits, with East Kootenay Traffic Services taking care of road infractions.
“There may be check stops depending on what they see,” Jalbert said. “They will choose a location based on what they perceive to be a problem.”
One of the advantages for police at JulyFest, as opposed to an event like Sam Steele, is that it is all concentrated in one area, Jalbert says.
“JulyFest is pretty much one-stop shopping; everything is happening at the bocce pits and the arena, so we can keep an eye on everyone.”
Police are not there to spoil the fun, she says. “We hope everyone has a good time — this is a big festival and it’s important to Kimberley.
“It has gone very well in the past few years, but there is a history of problems in the past.”
Jalbert says the police response in recent years has helped keep things under control. Things such as police officers walking through the pits, and the sheriff’s van sitting there to transport the overly intoxicated to cells in Cranbrook, are helpful deterrents.
“Everyone is there to have a good time, but we remind you that public drinking outside the pits is not allowed. We know people like to have a few drinks before they go to the bocce pits, but you can be turned away at the gate if you are over-intoxicated. Security can make the call. Just like a bar you can be turned away.”
Jalbert hopes for another successful weekend.
“It’s supposed to be beautiful weather, not too cold, not too hot. We hope everyone has a good time and nobody goes too over the top. But we’ll be on top of things as usual.”