Crime analyst assists Red Deer police work
Every file that comes into the Red Deer City RCMP detachment lands on Sandra Bibby’s desk.
The more serious the crime, the faster she’s brought in to assist with the investigation.
As the city’s first criminal intelligence analyst, Bibby plays a vital role helping the 131 police officers in the detachment do their jobs.
Bibby develops time lines, creates association charts and conducts general research for police investigations.
This frees up the investigators’ time, allowing them to do what they do best, which is to be out on the streets, talking to people, interviewing people, responding to calls, said Bibby.
“Instead of stuck in an office researching something on the Internet or reading hundreds of files from different police organizations.” That’s Bibby’s job.
Since September, Bibby has been using her organization and research skills to put together pieces of the puzzle in everything from fraud, assault, homicide to robbery investigations. Her position was given the green light by city council in the 2012 operating budget.
Red Deer City RCMP Supt. Warren Dosko says one of the most cost-efficient ways of doing business is through the intelligence-led, evidence approach to policing. He said the intelligence work gives the officers an in-depth understanding of where and when the crimes are happening and allows the force to focus on those areas that will have the biggest impact on reducing crime in the community.
Most of the larger detachments in the province have at least one criminal intelligence analyst on staff. Dosko said intelligence is an essential part of core policing. Up until now, the Red Deer detachment relied on word of mouth between officers and a few intelligence tools that were not entirely effective. Often officers were often pulled off the street to conduct research.
“A lot of what she’s doing almost went undone,” said Dosko. “It is really a huge addition to our needs . . . As we move forward I will be looking for additional resources in this area.”
Not to be confused with a forensic analyst, a criminal intelligence analyst is rarely, if ever, at a crime scene. Bibby spends her day pouring over files, watching video surveillance, researching online and talking to local police officers in the detachment or others across the province and other crime-fighting organizations.
“You want to make sure your members have as much information as they possibly can before they hit the streets,” said Bibby.
Her day begins with reading the files that have come in overnight. She will look for connections between arrests or new files with those already under investigation.
“It’s obviously easier to solve a series of crimes than it is solving one,” said Bibby.
Before moving to Red Deer, the northern Saskatchewan native worked at the Strathcona RCMP and Hobbema RCMP detachments and worked as a policy analyst with the province government. Bibby says no two analysts are alike. She holds a psychology degree from the University of Saskatchewan and a University of Leeds masters degree in strategic studies.
“The RCMP is evolving as technology evolves,” said Bibby. “As criminals evolve so will we. We have specialized units here. We do have forensics here and now we have added on the intel gathering side to it.”
Bibby said her job is to know what’s going on in Red Deer but also in Edmonton and Calgary and other parts of the province. Because Red Deer is in the middle of two major cities, it allows for a lot of movement of criminals.
Bibby said as crime continues to expand and criminals move around, her role becomes more vital in helping connect the pieces of the puzzle.
On her second day on the job, Bibby helped an analyst in Edmonton who was working on a bank robbery investigation that had similarities to robberies in Red Deer.
“I took a look at their file and sure enough identified it as the same suspect who at that time was unknown,” said Bibby.
That suspect has been arrested and now faces five charges of robbing banks in Red Deer and Edmonton.