Port Coquitlam city hall is reviewing its security protocols after a man threatened to kill Mayor Brad West and his family last year.
On Sept. 9, at Port Coquitlam Provincial Court, William Arthur Jones received a conditional discharge and was placed on probation for a year after he pleaded guilty to uttering threats.
The judge also ordered Jones, 66, to stay away from where West lives, works, plays and worships; not possess firearms; and pay a $100 victim fine surcharge.
Jones was charged on Dec. 31, 2021, after a confrontation the day before with two individuals in Port Coquitlam, when he was arrested with a replica gun.
Spokesperson Cpl. Alexa Hodgins said Coquitlam RCMP began its investigation and referred the matter to Crown prosecutors for possible criminal charges.
Today (Sept. 21), West told the Tri-City News that he doesn’t know Jones and has never met him; however, he’s been told that Jones’ threats escalated to police action.
“I understand this has been taking place over a period of time,” West said of the threats.
“I don’t know who he is, but he’s had frequent contact with bylaw, police and fire officers. I don’t know why he became fixated on me other than I’m the mayor.”
Coquitlam RCMP and the BC Prosecution Service were unable to provide more details about the offence, but West said Jones “had a plan to kill me and my family.”
The mayor has since installed security cameras outside of his home for added protection.
West said Jones also threatened staff in the city hall lobby.
“I’m grateful to the police and Crown for taking this seriously as these things are all too often brushed off,” he said, adding, “I’m a dad and a husband before anything else. Any threats to them are serious. I understand as a mayor you’re in the public eye, but that’s not what this was. This was not someone being upset at the city. This was a threat to my life and the lives of my wife and children.”
Despite the disturbing incident, which has prompted Dominic Long, PoCo’s community safety and corporate services director, to review of the safety of city hall employees and elected officials, West said nearly all communication with PoCo residents has been respectful and positive, and he takes pride in being a responsive civic leader.
“Sometimes, there are issues that can’t be resolved to the satisfaction of our residents,” he said, “but it’s still a really enjoyable interaction. I try to go the extra mile.”
“While this incident was unacceptable and criminal, it’s not who we are as a city,” he said.