Pilot projects to improve communication links between RCMP and community peace officers underway

Pilot projects to improve communication links between RCMP and community peace officers underway

Communciations gaps have been raised as safety concern by rural municipalities

Alberta’s RCMP is undertaking a pilot project to improve communications with community peace officers after safety concerns were raised by rural municipalities.

Foothills County voted to send a resolution to Rural Municipalities of Alberta highlighting what they see as an unsafe communications gap between Mounties and peace officers.

The resolution, which was seconded by Lacombe County last week, highlights several incidents where peace officers were unwittingly involved in potentially dangerous situations because they could not monitor RCMP encrypted radio calls.

An Oct. 10 Alberta Justice bulletin says the RCMP is aware of concerns and will be running a six-month pilot project at two sites.

Unsafe communications gap for community peace officers

At the conclusion of the pilot projects, consideration will be given to expanding access to peace officers, on a case-by-case basis, “taking into consideration structure and logistical challenges at each detachment,” says the bulletin issued by Tammy Spink, manager of the province’s peace officer program.

“Strict control over the access to radio communications that involve the RCMP is the essential criteria in the assessment process.”

Spink cautions that not all authorized employers and their community peace officers may have access to the RCMP’s encrypted communication system when the review has been completed.

“However, all potential avenues to have direct communication with the RCMP will be explored and communicated.”

Dave Brand, Red Deer County’s director of community and protective services, supports the RCMP’s pilot project, which will be similar to an initiative the county is undertaking along with the City of Lacombe, Lacombe Police Service and Lacombe County.

They are rolling out their own pilot project that will set aside a single radio channel where all four Lacombe police officers and the three municipalities can communicate with each other.

“What that does is that provides a consistent, single source of information and monitoring and radio contact, where we’re all on a shared radio channel,” said Brand.

“We’re looking at those challenges of how do we all communicate with each other? How do we ensure officer safety, and how do we ensure we know where officers are all the time?”

Another advantage of the collaboration is that peace officers will be able to get more information through the Canadian Police Information Centre. As an accredited police agency, Lacombe Police Service has access to more information through the centre that can now be shared with the other pilot project partners.

One of the incidents Foothills County pointed to was a car jacking at gunpoint that followed a collision with a school bus near Red Deer Regional Airport in January.

The backgrounder suggests the county’s community peace officers were left in the dark that a gunman was involved. However, Brand said the local detachment phoned the county to alert them to the dangerous situation.

“Our relationships with our local detachments are great,” he said. “If there is something major, they’re really, really good about trying to keep us in the loop. Of course, understanding the pace at which an incident unfolds.”

Brand said he also fully understands and respects why the RCMP want to ensure sensitive information is protected.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Town of Ponoka and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) have ratified a new agreement, averting a strike. (File photo from Facebook)
Alberta gov’t ‘using pandemic as shield to lay off workers,’ says AUPE

The Government of Alberta’s “attacks on workers” is continuing with a new… Continue reading

Rocky Mountain House RCMP, EMS, Search and Rescue, STARS air ambulance and Alstrom Helicopters worked together to rescue a fallen ice climber Friday. (Photo contributed by Rocky Mountain House RCMP)
Rocky Mountain House RCMP help rescue fallen ice climber

Rocky Mountain RCMP helped assist a fallen ice climber Friday afternoon. At… Continue reading

Students Association of Red Deer College president Brittany Lausen says she’s pleased the college is offering students a choice to attend class in-person or remotely. (Red Deer Advocate file photo)
Red Deer College winter term enrolment dips

Enrolment down about six per cent but mix of online and in-person instruction is going over well

Brett Salomons, of Salomons Commercial, and Mark Jones, CEO of the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre, in the CACAC's new temporary home. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre’s One Day Challenge returns

Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre has announced its One Day Challenge is… Continue reading

Dwayne Buckle, 40 of Red Deer finished a 1,638-kilometre walk, in honour of his family. The 12-week, 82 day-journey wrapped up in Port Hardy, B.C. on Monday. Facebook photo
Red Deer man completes 1,638 km hike for cancer research

Dwayne Buckle, a Red Deer firefighter returned home Friday after his 12-week journey

A Suncor logo is shown at the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Thursday, May 2, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Body of worker whose bulldozer fell through ice on inactive tailings pond recovered

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — Oilpatch giant Suncor says the body of a… Continue reading

A restaurant manager in Orlando used a sign to secretly ask an 11-year-old boy if he needs help from his family after they were spotted withholding food from him. (Photo courtesy Orlando Police Department)
WATCH: Restaurant manager uses secret note to ‘rescue’ child, says Orlando Police

The manager of an Orlando restaurant is receiving praise from police after… Continue reading

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will cripple struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

VICTORIA — A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Quebec and Ontario, the two provinces hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic,… Continue reading

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police "E" Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. A young snowshoer who set out alone on a rugged mountain trail on Vancouver's north shore Thursday has died. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Snowshoer dies after overnight search on Vancouver-area mountain: RCMP

SQUAMISH, B.C. — A snowshoer who set out alone on a rugged… Continue reading

‘It was joyous:’ Sun returns to some Nunavut communities for first time in weeks

IQALUIT — A sliver of orange rose over Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, earlier… Continue reading

People take photos through the extensive security surrounding the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, ahead of the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Susan Walsh
Less pomp, very different circumstances as D.C. prepares to inaugurate Biden, Harris

WASHINGTON — Some pomp. Very different circumstances. Inauguration day is supposed to… Continue reading

Winnipeg Jets' Nathan Beaulieu (88) and Nikolaj Ehlers (27) defend against Jansen Harkins (12) during scrimmage at their NHL training camp practice in Winnipeg, Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Winnipeg Jets cancel practice due to possible COVID-19 exposure

WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Jets have cancelled their practice today due to… Continue reading

Most Read