A series of several search warrants yielded guns and drugs from Sylvan Lake homes and vechiles. From left to right are Staff Sgt. Andrew Shepherd, Sylvan Lake RCMP; Sean McIntyre, Sylvan Lake Mayor; Tara Veer, Red Deer Mayor; Insp. Ken Foster; and Sgt. Bob Schultz. (Photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate staff)

Additional police presence could help deter criminal activity, says Foster

Four additional officers and two support staff are being sought

If Red Deer gets four new RCMP officers to help crack down on property crime, it will be one item checked off Supt. Ken Foster’s wish list.

Foster, the officer in charge of Red Deer’s RCMP detachment, wants to have a more dedicated police presence in the downtown, but said this is contingent on getting more resources.

The four additional police officers and two civilian assistant positions that he’s recommended in the proposed municipal budget would cost taxpayers about $778,000 over two years.

Red Deer council will discuss the request as part of the proposed 2018 operating budget that’s expected to total $361 million and raise taxes by two per cent.

Other “community safety” spending considerations are $156,000 for the Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre, and $400,000 for cleaning up used needles and other “rough sleeper debris” from homeless encampments in parks and elsewhere.

Foster doesn’t believe criminals, who are committing break-ins to fund their drug addiction, will be stopped in their tracks by having more officers patrolling the downtown. But he feels a greater police presence could possibly deter some criminal activity.

Right now, Red Deer has no specific unit dedicated for the downtown. All police units in the city are tasked with taking turns on downtown patrols. Two police foot patrols are done within a 24-hour period. Foster said business owners might not notice because some of these are done at night.

Requests for more police officers and staff are made to city council every year at budget time for the local detachment to keep up with growing crime in an expanding community. These requests are usually granted.

While a shortfall was reported between the 161 RCMP officers the city currently has and the 196 officers that are the average for cities of 100,000, Foster doesn’t believe Red Deer needs 35 additional officers.

As part of a nation-wide police force, the Red Deer RCMP detachment can take advantage of economies of scale, he explained. RCMP specialists, in homicide, bomb disposal, traffic and other areas, can be borrowed from larger detachments so the city doesn’t have to hire its own.

At this time of economic restraint, Foster’s strategy has been making better use of the officers he has.

While many community members suppose RCMP members spend their day wrapped up in paperwork, Foster said he’s taken a lot of the administrative tasks off his officers’ hands. Much of it is now done by municipal workers.

Police officers still have to spend between 20 and 40 per cent of their time (depending on the case) getting ready for trial. But when criminal cases can be thrown out of court because of shoddy record keeping, Foster believes this paperwork is necessary.

Another goal for the local detachment is getting more local business/home owners to share information with the RCMP about where their surveillance cameras are located.

While police officers can’t view footage without the owners’ permission, they can make this request if there’s a chance a crime suspect was caught on one of the private cameras, said Foster.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

One strong wind leaves years of replanting work for Red Deer parks staff

High visibility boulevards already replanted, neighbourhood work starts next year

Red Deer-area indigenous filmmakers invited to apply for $20,000 grant

Storyhive launches Indigenous Storyteller Edition

Restaurant closed after compliance team patrol

Public Safety Compliance Team checked eight bars and restaurants on Oct. 19

Red Deerians await local cannabis stores

So far 31 stores in Alberta awarded licence to operate

Rimbey RCMP seek missing man with health concerns

Has anyone seen Bill Harris of Ponka County?

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Local Sports: Rudy Soffo valuable to Kings on the court

When Rudy Soffo first saw the RDC basketball Kings roster he was… Continue reading

Except for 1 kick, Saints, Ravens are evenly matched

BALTIMORE — In a matchup between the league’s highest-scoring offence and top-ranked… Continue reading

Julia Louis-Dreyfus gets a top award for comedy

WASHINGTON — After a 35-year acting career and with two iconic television… Continue reading

Ricky Skaggs, Dottie West enter Country Music Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE — Bluegrass and country star Ricky Skaggs, singer Dottie West and… Continue reading

AP Exclusive: Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, thesis for sale

LONDON — Stephen Hawking was a cosmic visionary, a figure of inspiration… Continue reading

Canada deemed U.S. a safe country for asylum seekers after internal review

OTTAWA — Canadian immigration officials have determined that the United States remains… Continue reading

Bombardier sues Mitsubishi over alleged theft of aircraft trade secrets

MONTREAL — Bombardier is suing Mitsubishi Aircraft in the United States over… Continue reading

Three strong earthquakes reported in Pacific Ocean off Vancouver Island

Three relatively strong earthquakes were recorded Sunday night in the Pacific Ocean… Continue reading

Most Read