Williams Lake city council is calling for a public inquiry into the release of prolific offenders charged with serious offences. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake city council is calling for a public inquiry into the release of prolific offenders charged with serious offences. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake calls for public inquiry into release of prolific offenders

‘We are at the end of our rope,’ said Mayor Walt Cobb

Williams Lake city council is calling for a public inquiry into the release of prolific and repeat offenders back into communities with no significant deterrents to offend.

“We are at the end of our rope,” said Mayor Walt Cobb, who along with Coun. Scott Nelson, submitted a report during the regular meeting Tuesday, Feb. 9 seeking approval to ask MLA Lorne Doerkson and MP Todd Doherty to support the call for an emergency review of the ‘weak and ineffective judicial sentencing of prolific offenders in Williams Lake.’

Cobb said what made him agree that something has to be done was after the police and Crown asked that an individual not be released from custody.

“The judge determined that he be let out and the next day the man was found dead,” Cobb said.

Read more: B.C.’s police watchdog finds Williams Lake RCMP, Crown tried to prevent death of man in need of help

When prolific offenders are released, they need to be monitored and the money needs to be there for them to receive treatment for drug addiction or mental health needs, Nelson said.

MLA Doerkson, appearing by phone, said he supported council moving forward with the initiative.

“To say that our communities in the Cariboo Chilcotin are frustrated would be the understatement of the decade,” he told council.

“I think it’s high time that it does go to the next level and I’m here to support and applaud you being the group that has started this,” Doerkson said, noting he will press for immediate action from the provincial government.

CRD Area D director Steve Forseth, also appearing by phone, said his community members are frustratred. Both McLeese Lake and Tyee Lake fire departments were victims of theft and many mailboxes have been broken into.

“It’s high time to get going on this,” he added.

Coun. Jason Ryll said it is an issue that impacts rural and urban centres across Canada.

“It is a recognition that the system that is in place needs overhauling. It’s not only a Williams Lake thing, but I’m happy it’s Williams Lake that is leading the charge on this,” Ryll said.

The city’s request will now go to the Lieutenant Governor in Council to issue an order for the inquiry.

“It’s been long overdue and let’s hope this helps resolve the problem,” Cobb said.


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