Crime prevention committee head chosen

Red Deer’s new Crime Prevention Advisory Committee has chosen the president of Neighbourhood Watch as its first chair.

Red Deer’s new Crime Prevention Advisory Committee has chosen the president of Neighbourhood Watch as its first chair.

TerryLee Ropchan, whose assortment of hats includes chairing a school parent council and participating in Citizens On Patrol, was elected during the committee’s first meeting at City Hall on Tuesday.

“I came here with a bit of open expectations, very excited to work with a new group of people,” said Ropchan, one of Red Deer’s best-known volunteer crime fighters. Participation in Neighbourhood Watch and COP offer various perspectives on crime and crime prevention, she said. Ropchan has also worked on the Youth Justice Committee.

“I have a lot of connections to a lot of different programs, and I think that it all works together,” she said.

“(Crime prevention committee members) were talking about a network of resources and agencies. I really see this group being able to pull some of that in and be able to address some of those big crime issues that we have, in a preventative way.”

Tuesday’s meeting, the first since city council decided earlier this year to put the committee together, served as an orientation for its members, which include seven citizens at large along with city councillors Buck Buchanan and Lynne Mulder.

Committee members were given primers in what their duties and responsibilities will be and the resources available to them.

RCMP Supt. Brian Simpson Dean Scott, the city’s crime prevention co-ordinator, will be their liaisons with City Hall.

The Crime Prevention Committee is unique to Red Deer, and is neither a policing commission nor a policing advisory committee, said Colleen Jensen, community services director, in her orientation talk.

Reporting directly to City Council, the Crime Prevention Committee is involved in working with the community, the RCMP and city staff to find ways of reducing crime rates on Red Deer streets, said Jensen.

Dean Scott, in his presentation, described initiatives that are now underway or being planned, including Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.

The meeting was cut short of its full agenda to allow members time to attend a public presentation on crime, hosted by Seniors and Community Supports Minister Mary Ann Jablonski, MLA for Red Deer North and by Red Deer South MLA Cal Dallas.

The new committee next meets on May 12.

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