Sampson hopeful council will support Car 60 review

City council received Coun. Kyle Sampson's notice of motion calling for a review and possible expansion of the Prince George RCMP Car 60 program on Monday.

Sampson's motion calls for city staff to consult with the RCMP and Northern Health and report back to council on options to expand the program, formally known as the Urgent Community Response Team. The Car 60 program pairs plain-clothes RCMP officers in an unmarked police car with nurses trained in mental health and addictions. 

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City council will debate the motion at July 27's regular meeting.

"This has been something I've been thinking about for a long time," Sampson said after Monday's brief council meeting. "To me it's about how are we are able to better serve the community."

The Car 60 program was launched in Prince George in April 2015 and was based on a similar initiative in Surrey. The team responds to calls involving mental health and substance abuse, and access the person to see if they can be be referred to local community resources.

Sampson said he's heard from both RCMP officers and medical professionals who've praised the program as an alternative to traditional policing. The next step is to listen to those professionals and found out what additional resources are needed, he said.

Sampson said he's fairly confident city council will support looking at what expanding the program would look like, and what costs would be involved.

"It's proved itself for the last five years, let's look at ramping it up," he said. "I'm looking forward to the information."

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