Council hears complaints about animals increasing

Written by Stu Salkeld

Kneehill county council heard that police and community peace officers (CPO’s) are responding to more complaints about animals. The report was made at the Nov. 29 regular meeting of council.

Councillors examined the quarterly reports field by a number of RCMP detachments and the municipality’s own CPO’s.

Most municipalities only deal with one or two detachments, but the staff memo included for councillors noted Kneehill County’s boundaries include five RCMP detachments: Three Hills, Drumheller, Innisfail, Olds and Beiseker, four of which provide quarterly reports with the exception of Innisfail which was described as only covering a “very small” portion of Kneehill.

Staff noted that RCMP reports reflect the police’s goals of following Kneehill County’s policing priorities, which include rural crime prevention, community safety programs and workshops, police presence in rural communities and cooperation with county CPO’s.

Beiseker detachment

Councillors first perused Airdrie/Beiseker commander Insp. Lauren Weare’s report. Weare noted, as virtually every RCMP detachment commander recently has, that a body worn camera trial program will be conducted in Alberta in 2023.

“Should the top vendor demonstrate they can meet our requirements, the next step will be full implementation later in 2023,” stated Weare’s report; while “full requirements” wasn’t defined, it may refer to supply chain issues which have delayed retail deliveries, especially electronics.

There was also a note mentioned that field tests of the cameras may result in changes to initial cost estimates.

Weare’s charts noted categories of crimes or issues and how many instances RCMP responded to, along with past year comparisons. Theft under $5,000 was one of the most commonly responded to, with 13 instances in 2022.

One of the largest increases was response by RCMP to complaints under the Mental Health Act, which jumped from two in 2021 to eight in 2022. Property damage due to motor vehicle collisions were at nine in number in the rural Beiseker area in 2022.

Under the common police activities heading, six instances of spousal abuse – survey code (reported) were listed.

Weare also noted her detachment created an overtime-based enhanced shift exclusively in the Airdrie/Beiseker rural area and made available to members, five of which were taken. This resulted, in the second quarter, in 11 curfew checks, 28 warrant executions and 208 patrols.

Drumheller detachment

As councillors looked at the Drumheller stat sheets submitted by acting commander Cpl. Alex MacDonald again one of the most commonly responded to complaints was theft under $5,000, 15 instances in that area.

Also, RCMP in rural Drumheller responded to seven fail to comply/breaches complaints. Also in Drumheller area, motor vehicle collisions with reportable damage were common, 30 instances of which were recorded.

Under the common police activities heading for Drumheller rural area there were 32 reports of suspicious activity and 15 of the aforementioned spousal abuse.

Cpl. MacDonald noted the Drumheller rural officers have been increasing their visibility, visiting schools and hearing positive feedback.

CPO report

County staff provided the regular Community Peace Officer (CPO) report which noted the following activity: 32 citations under Traffic Safety Act including 23 warnings and nine tickets, 12 animal control files in Kneehill County, 13 animal and general bylaw files in Acme, Carbon, Linden, Trochu and Three Hills, one suspicious vehicle, two assist fire/RCMP, assist internal department (planning) calls in Kneehill County, two school visits (Halloween safety), targeted education and patrols including stop sign initiative, hamlet patrols and targeted patrols in Kneehill County only.

“We are down one staff member from beginning of August to current,” noted the staff CPO report.

Councillors had no questions about the police reports and accepted it as information.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.