Fentanyl trafficking, main priority for detachment 

Hanna RCMP Sgt. Trent Sperlie came to Hanna council chambers Tues. Aug. 10 to share that fentanyl trafficking has been their number one priority for this fiscal year as new and returning felons have been coming to the area, specifically Hanna.

Police have also noticed an increase in persons crimes and domestic violence which have some correlation to trafficking.

“It’s like the gopher game at the fair. You’re trying to hit the gopher on the head, it goes down and then another one pops up and that’s exactly what is happening,” said Sperlie.

One officer within the detachment is solely dedicated to stopping fentanyl trafficking within the area and is in close contact with the Drumheller detachment as well.

“We share very similar people between the two detachments,” he said.

“It has really been attracting a core group of people we don’t want in Hanna and as a result of it, the crimes will start to increase.”

Traffic violations have also been on the radar with numbers seeing a 135 per cent increase from last year across the entire detachment.

The issue identified in this priority is the aggressive driving behaviour of some motorists within Hanna.

This was identified through repeated complaints of people speeding.

In a lot of cases, the offenders aren’t speeding but instead driving in a very aggressive manner where rapid loud acceleration is the actual issue.

“We have targeted and charged people driving aggressively under the Traffic Safety Act for stunting. 

“We are diverting some resources to the outer lying areas with Youngstown being high on the list. Speed trailers are being used in both Youngstown and Hanna. 

“We are also working the construction zones diligently along with Special Areas PO’s, Alberta Sheriffs and RCMP Traffic Services to reduce injury/fatal collisions and to enhance the safety of the workers,” stated the quarterly report.

Sperlie shared that average speeds along highway 9 are 125 km/hr while Highway 570 is higher at 140-150km/hr.

Sperlie added that more appearances are being made in that area.

Council suggested the police spend more time enforcing traffic along the road near the waterpark and added that more signage would be good in that area as well which administration will look into further.

Youngstown had a wave of thefts that we believe to be isolated and we are diverting resources to prevent that from continuing,” stated Sperlie’s report.

Body-worn cameras will soon be implemented across Alberta with Hanna being no exception. Sperlie shared they will be ordering their equipment once testing is complete.

“It shortens investigations. More times than not it shows us what we’re supposed to do,” he said, adding that his members have been asking for them already.

Costs will be picked up by the RCMP for now and then transferred down to contracts such as the municipality.

The Federal Government recognizes that this was not in the multi-year financial plans for contract partners and thus has agreed to fund the first three years of the roll-out.

Once costing is known, financial forecasting will be provided to communities with Municipal Policing Service Agreements.

Sperlie noted he will be moving on from this detachment once his home is sold.

The detachment Sgt. from Brooks will temporarily take Sperlie’s place until a new one can fill this position.


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.