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

Women’s marches underway in Canadian cities, a year after Trump inauguration

Women are gathering in dozens of communities across the country today to… Continue reading

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

WATCH: Setters Place grand opening in Red Deer

Red Deer’s Setters Place officially opened to the public Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month