Stettler council discusses lifted trucks, jake brakes with police

Written by Stu Salkeld
Town of Stettler council discussed several issues of concern with the local RCMP commander at the regular meeting of council July 21. Many of the issues included traffic problems.
Newly placed Stettler RCMP commander Sgt. Tim Gaultois, along with his superior, S/Sgt. Mike Numan, appeared before council to give an update on the previous year’s activities and a bit of a preview of future priorities.
Numan explained he may be Gaultois’ liaison between K Division in Edmonton and the local detachment, based out of Red Deer, but Stettler and area is Gaultois’ responsibility. 
“This is his show,” said Numan, noting he and other RCMP resources are there to support Stettler.
Gaultois stated he took over command in Stettler in January of this year from previous NCO Sgt. Phil Penny. 
Gaultois has 13 years experience with the RCMP and worked in a number of different places. 
The new sergeant stated he is available 24-7 when the town council needs him.
 “I’m there whenever you need me,” said Gaultois.
Gaultois stated he respects the importance of performance plans, as they come from the community itself and understands that a lot of policing is community-oriented. 
However, the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 has caused some strange issues, as it prevents police from interacting in traditional ways in the community.
Traffic and community relations are two priorities for the Stettler RCMP. Gaultois already understands that improper use of engine retarder brakes, or “jake brakes,” and intersection safety are two priorities for the Stettler community.
Community relations, or staying in contact with the community, remain a priority as well.
Intelligence gathering and addressing organized crime in and around Stettler are also priorities.
Gaultois stated the stats that the Stettler RCMP use sometimes include the Red Deer area, as Stettler and region are influenced by the city.
Gaultois stated he likes the local RCMP detachment to remain in close contact with local businesses. 
“For us, no crime is too small,” said Gaultois.
He stated that organized crime remains an issue even in rural Alberta and the Stettler RCMP detachment looks to tackle all aspects of it in this area and reduce its effect as much as possible.
Looking at crime stats in the region, Gaultois stated in the first quarter of the fiscal year property crime numbers, urban and rural, decreased by 20.68 per cent in the region. There was also a decrease in the theft under $5,000 area.
Gaultois stated the clearance rate, that is investigations completed, was well within the detachment’s goal. The sergeant stated it’s always nice to see an improvement in the clearance rate.
Gaultois noted that the Stettler detachment is currently short three members but has two new members on their way. However, members of the RCMP looking to transfer sometimes have complications such as selling a home in their current employment area.
Coun. Malcom Fischer asked if impaired driving in Stettler is similar to the numbers seen in other communities. 
Gaultois stated he’s worked in lots of different communities and stated impaired driving numbers in Stettler seem similar to the Edmonton region. He said the Stettler RCMP plan to address impaired driving, and also noted illegal drugs don’t seem to be a glaring problem in the Stettler region.
Coun. Scott Pfeiffer asked if the Citizens on Patrol group will remain functioning. Gaultois stated he’d like to see it continue because police can’t be everywhere all the time and all help is appreciated.
Numan pointed out that all stats police use are only from crimes that are reported and he stated councillors should encourage the community to report crimes. 
Numan stated if crimes go unreported it’s impossible for police to solve them.
Mayor Sean Nolls stated he felt strongly that community policing is important to a place like Stettler, including things like foot patrols and also being present in the school zones. 
Gaultois agreed, saying, “Just being visible in the community makes a difference.”
Coun. Gord Lawlor mentioned that he strongly supports the local victim services organization and wanted to know Gaultois’ opinion of it.
Gaultois stated he’s had strong relationships with victim services groups before and felt that will continue during his time in Stettler.
Coun. Al Campbell asked Gaultois what the RCMP plans to do about lifted or giant 4X4 pick-up trucks. 
Gaultois noted he is a collision analyst and there are regulations pertaining to such vehicles and stated he’s seen before what a misplaced bumper can do to the occupants of another vehicle in a collision, and it’s not pleasant. 
He said the Stettler RCMP plans to address this.
Councillors concluded their meeting with the RCMP with a roughly 40 minute closed session to discuss “Stettler RCMP staffing – Third party business interests.”
Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter

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.