In a year-end review of the 2020 year, pandemic and all, Sgt. Edmond Bourque shared his thoughts regarding the Drumheller region and how his detachment fared.
The communities within the Drumheller detachment area shared their comments during the annual performance plan where priorities were created.
Five major priorities were pinpointed including crime reduction, community accountability, increased police visibility and public interaction, support for domestic violence victims, and traffic enforcement.
“It definitely reinforced for us that we have the support of the community,” said Sgt. Bourque.
“They care enough to provide us feedback – good or bad, and that the majority of residents are working together with one another and our detachment members to be our eyes and ears and report any and all suspicious activity.
“Again I can’t stress enough it’s the small observations and information that turn into large investigations.”
RCMP members have been assigned to specific communities, both in the valley, and rural, which they are responsible for making general patrols to increase visibility, as well as enforce traffic rules.
They have also been tasked with introducing themselves to the schools’ administrators to facilitate visits, build rapport with the students and conduct presentations based on agreed-upon topics.
Although a challenge since March, the members have worked around social distancing issues by working with the administrators to connect with the students via Zoom or other fashions.
Presently, the Drumheller detachment is at full strength in terms of members.
The pandemic has not slowed down the detachment in the slightest.
“After a complete review of the year in total and taking all into account, I have concluded that there is no direct correlation between observed statistics and the pandemic,” said Bourque.
Impaired driving laws have changed under Bill 21 as of Dec. 1 of 2020.
The Government of Alberta has introduced a new Immediate Roadside Sanction (IRS) program with more immediate consequences for impaired drivers on our provincial roads.
This can include fines up to $2,000, increased vehicle detainment time, Increased driver’s licence suspensions for repeat offenders, Expanded mandatory ignition interlock for repeat offenders and so forth.
Sgt. Bourque noted they have been complimenting their municipal traffic work by hosting select enhanced patrols, particularly to their communities outside the valley to increase police presence, which generates numerous criminal code investigations.
“The large files often begin with the small traffic stops,” he said.
Another way the detachment has been keeping crime related activities at bay is through the Crime Reduction Unit (CRU).
The CRU is a joint force initiative with GIS (General Investigation Section) and Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) members, with the assistance of our District CRU, ALERT (Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams), AGLC (Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis) and neighbouring detachments.
The CRU also generates intelligence on their investigations via the public, Crimestoppers, COP and Rural Crime Watch observations.
“It really is a great team approach that keeps our local and travelling habitual criminals looking over their shoulders,” stated Bourque.
Uniform and ‘plainclothes’ members have been conducting patrols, conducting curfew checks on those currently on court-ordered conditions, and generating intelligence and charges for breach of conditions on our local habitual offenders.
Also, a number of search warrants have been executed on various residences leading to arrests and seizures of drugs and weapons in and around the detachment area.
This information is then given back to their communities via media releases and meetings with the local councils.
As for 2021, Sgt. Bourque has a few areas of interest he looks forward to tackling.
“In the near future I and our policing committee via survey, will be reaching out to our communities to ask what their priorities will be for the upcoming 2021 fiscal year, and once I have the results, I will again create our priorities list. I anticipate our priorities will be similar to the past year, however, I also understand that we must remain flexible for any new community priorities to ensure we are providing the best service possible,” he said.