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Bitten, Spat On, Threatened: Island city sees rise in assaults against RCMP

A job that entails being bitten, spat on, or threatened with weapons is seldom found, but for police on Vancouver Island, it’s reportedly part of the daily routine.

For Campbell River RCMP Cst. Maury Tyre, there’s a certain amount of violence and risk that comes along with the job. But a drastic increase in assaults against local mounties is sparking concern, ultimately speaking to deeper problems, Tyre notes.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, so far this year he says officers in Campbell River have dealt with 11 reported assaults and acts of violence, doubling the number of instances in all of 2020.

“Clearly I knew that the career of a police officer was not going to be sunshine and roses,” Tyre explains, “but some of the incidents can definitely push the patience of even the calmest of officers.”

Speaking from personal experience, on top of being bitten, spat on, and having swings taken at him, Tyre says he’s actually been threatened with various weapons over the course of his career. And for Tyre, it escalates from there.

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“In exceptional circumstances, I’ve had people threaten the lives and well-being of my family in some of the most graphic terms people could, but probably shouldn’t imagine,” he says. “These experiences are sadly far more common than the numbers show.”

According to Tyre, the most recent assault on an officer happened around noon this past Monday (Aug. 16th), after police were called to a well-being check in the 700-block of the South Island Highway.

Katana style sword and skull mask found within reach of the suspect (Photo: Campbell River RCMP)

Tyre continues, “A member of the public had called concerned about a male who appeared to be passed out half in and half out of his vehicle. When the officer attempted to rouse the individual, the man elbowed the officer in the solar plexus, in an attempt to avoid dealing with his legal issues.”

A brief struggle followed and a Campbell River man was taken into custody. The 42-year-old could be facing charges of Imparied Care and Control of a Motor Vehicle and Assault of a Police Officer.

But things could have potentially taken a turn for the worse, Tyre notes, as the suspect had a full-size Katana sword and multiple other bladed items well within reach.

“If the officer had not been able to control his wits and body long enough to get the suspect in custody, the situation could have turned tragic,” adds Tyre. “Situations like this offer a prime example of what can go wrong during even the most benign calls.”

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