Two RCMP officers who drove from Alberta to British Columbia Wednesday night to help with wildfire evacuations say they’re happy to give back to the officers who supported them in the days of the Fort McMurray “Beast” just over a year ago.
“We received overwhelming support in Fort McMurray last year,” RCMP Const. Roderick Doe told Global News. “It’s nice to be able to pay it forward and back, because B.C. sent a lot of resources up to help us.
“They came up within a week and they were the primary relief team for our stow team in B.C., which allowed our whole team to stand down and get rest, go back to our families and get ourselves cleaned up.”
READ MORE: B.C. wildfires 2017: How you can help
Watch below from July 12: Global’s Sophie Lui is live from Williams Lake, where residents have been under an evacuation alert since Monday night.
Doe and his colleague, Const. Matt Underhill, are two of 40 officers with the special tactical operations unit who are being deployed to assist in the state of emergency while over 180 wildfires burn across B.C. Thousands have been evacuated from their homes.
“The public does depend on the police … to get them through these situations which can be emotional, certainly at some of the most difficult times in their lives,” Underhill said. “We just want to help the people as best we can and come to the best resolution possible given the trying circumstance.”
The officers said they didn’t have a lot of specific information as to what they’d be responsible for, other than they were being deployed to Williams Lake.
“We’ll be assisting with any evacuations as required or any other police services that are required within the town and surrounding communities,” Underhill said.
The Alberta officers are being deployed under provincial policing agreements with the RCMP that allow the commissioner to temporarily withdraw officers from one province to help with an emergency in another part of the country.
“It all comes down to why we joined the police,” Doe said.
“I joined because I don’t want to be a bystander. I want to participate in stuff like this and help out my community.”