The Consort RCMP detachment is trying its best to get members into local communities, but the NCO says homes aren’t always easy to come by.
Consort acting commander Cpl. Chad Salmi spoke to Castor town council at their regular meeting Feb. 24. Salmi is also the acting commander of the Coronation detachment area, which includes Castor.
Salmi said the RCMP are currently in financial planning mode for the next fiscal year and wanted to gather input from communities on priorities for policing and also hear community concerns.
He said the RCMP’s goals include reducing crime but also include enhancing public confidence and engagement, goals which can be reached in a variety of ways: coffee breaks with the RCMP, council meetings or simply talking with residents on the street.
Salmi noted the RCMP know that rural crime is a concern. However, he said he wanted to hear directly from councillors about local issues.
Coun. Trudy Kilner said police visibility is important. “We don’t see them around here enough.”
The corporal said the RCMP are looking at having members live in Castor, but housing is always a concern.
It seems there is always property for sale, but rental properties are usually more in demand with newer or younger Mounties.
Salmi said an RCMP member recently had trouble finding a home in Coronation and the rental market in Castor is also tight. He stated that if the rental market was better, he suspects members would be attracted to Castor because, for example, it’s closer to Stettler and Red Deer.
It was noted that the RCMP likes to lease property, as the landowner remains responsible for maintenance.
Mayor Richard Elhard said that as far as crime or safety concerns, speeding is always on the list, as are stop sign infractions. Elhard said it seems people treat stop signs as optional.
Coun. Tony Nichols agreed speeding is a concern in Castor.
The mayor elaborated saying: 50th Street “is kind of a race track,” and Castor residents also have to deal with stunting on icy roads.
Coun. Lonny Nelner said every year council hears complaints from residents who are concerned about speeding and stunting.
The subject of RCMP funding was mentioned. Salmi said it appears there may be increased funding for the RCMP, but whether the Castor region sees another member is not known.
Salmi noted the average cost for an RCMP constable and patrol car is about $160,000.
Coun. Nichols echoed the concern that he would like the RCMP to be more visible in the Castor community.
Councillors accepted Salmi’s presentation as information.
Local Journalism Initiative reporter