Newly appointed Blackfalds Staff Sergeant Dan Martin revealed recent criminal numbers and other information collected from the area during Clive Council’s meeting on Mon. July 9.
The detachment has received 75 calls within six months from Clive residents which is equal to approximately one to two calls per day. The calls were about things like suspicious activity, vehicle theft, shoplifting, break and entering, and failing to stop at an accident as a few examples.
Enhanced shifts and increased presence within the community has helped with crime and other incidences that require police assistance.
“It’s good because it keeps people on their toes,” said Martin. “We want to keep your community safe and if they think we are coming or they don’t know when we are coming, that helps do that.”
The biggest hit came when they captured a man who was out on a warrant. Despite the good news, the Sergeant explained the lack of staffing that is happening across the province. Blackfalds Detachment alone is “down three members”.
To counter this the province has created the Call Back Unit which allows officers in rural and urban detachments more time to patrol and get other work completed.
“They can give all of their information over the phone and then somebody who is now working in Edmonton can take that information and put it on file for us,” explained Martin. “It takes them away from people crime as I call it or property crime.
Since April 2, the call back unit has responded to 75 calls for Blackfalds and 1,100 calls have been made across the province.
“So what happens if you lose your driver’s license you will call telecoms if you want to get your number entered because maybe somebody stole it. Telecom has six different criteria they will refer to the call back unit. The call back unit will look at it and say ‘Yeah, I can do this.” and I will call you back and say “We’ve got your number on file but if you find your license let us know.”
If this report seems suspicious they may require follow-up where they will ‘retask it’ to someone at the local detachment.
Martin told council that only two files were referred back while 73 cases remained at the call back unit.
“Our goal is to put our members on the street as much as we can,” said Martin.
Beginning Sept. 4, a team will be centered out of Sylvan Lake where they will target prolific offenders within Central Alberta’s rural areas. A team in Wetaskiwin has made hundreds or arrests, recovered stolen items and taken drugs and warranted persons off the street under the same premise by closely monitoring suspects.
Martin considers it “a great success” and will be providing a member of the Blackfalds team to create the new group in Sylvan Lake.
“We are going to give them one of our members. I think Lacombe police is going to give them one. There will be a couple [members] from Red Deer, Sylvan Lake, Innisfail involved as well so we are going to give them in total a team of six or eight and we will feed them the intel.”
The Commanding Officer has a goal to have a full time team dedicated to the southern central Alberta area. The government has allocated $8 million in funding which will be swiftly spent to create these new groups and make communities safe.