NEWS

RCMP gear up for 3 B.C. biker and music festivals

07/19/2012 02:06 EDT | Updated 09/18/2012 05:12 EDT
Thousands of bikers and music fans are on their way to the North Okanagan this weekend, as RCMP prepare to police three music festivals in the region in the same weekend.

The Salmon Arm Stomp, Armstrong Metalfest and Sturgis North Motorcycle Rally and Music Festival will draw people from across North America to the North Okanagan communities of Vernon, Armstrong and Salmon Arm, B.C.

"We've been planning for these events for months now," says Cpl. Gerry Kovacs with the Vernon-North Okanagan rural detachment. "It's pretty much an all hands on deck weekend for the detachment."

Reservist RCMP members, Citizens on Patrol and officers from out of town have all been called in as backup.

It is expected members of the Hells Angels will be at the Sturgis North Motorcycle Rally near Vernon, as they were last year when the event was held in Salmon Arm.

"It may very well attract persons involved in organized crime, and we've considered those risks during our planning stages and just a matter of having the adequate resources in place should there be a problem," he said.

Officers will be doing road checks to stop impaired drivers and checking to see if bikers are following B.C.'s new motorcycle helmet law.

"[We're doing] nothing special because of a special group. It's just having the right amount of people to do the job which is public safety," said Kovacs.

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