Sgt. Gerald Ouellet

Police squad targets local organized crime

A specialized team tackling organized crime was officially introduced in Red Deer on Thursday.

A specialized team tackling organized crime was officially introduced in Red Deer on Thursday.

Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) has set up the Red Deer Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU), a team of undercover officers who have been working in the city since November to tackle drug trafficking networks, thefts, gang activity, and marijuana grow operations.

The team will target street-level criminals, as well as probe larger crime groups inside and outside Alberta’s borders.

Sgt. Gerald Ouellet, officer in charge of the Red Deer unit, said the officers have been working out of the Red Deer city RCMP detachment, primarily assisting detachments in the region. Up to 10 individuals are in the unit now but it will be beefed up to 15.

“Organized crime knows no boundaries,” said Ouellet.

ALERT has established regional teams across Alberta since setting up in 2006. Others are located in Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge.

These teams include municipal police, RCMP and sheriffs who work together across all jurisdictions. They lead investigations and also help other police partners like Calgary Police Service.

The Red Deer RCMP also has a general investigation section, which delves more into serious crimes within Red Deer.

The new unit will have more of a regional approach and focus on organized crime.

“Our investigations tend to be lengthy because organized crime groups are very sophisticated,” said Ouellet.

RCMP Supt. Warren Dosko said this unit will help bring about a safer community for Red Deer.

“We’ve certainly used them to date in our serious crimes (investigations) and they’ve been a significant value over the last three to four months,” said Dosko. “We see that relationship growing where we’re working in partnership and sharing intelligence.”

The new unit is jointly funded by the province and the City of Red Deer.

Last August, council supported contributing half of the costs, up to $150,000, towards renovating undeveloped space in the downtown city detachment. Dollars would come from municipal reserves and the detachment building surplus.

The city also agreed to provide six municipal RCMP members — three Mounties already working at the detachment and the remaining new officers to be funded over the next several years. Each officer costs $130,000 to $140,000 annually.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Photos: Hundreds attend Red Deer Lights the Night

Cold weather didn’t stop people from enjoying holiday festivities

Backlog of irregular asylum claims has ballooned to over 28,000

OTTAWA — The backlog of asylum claims from irregular migrants awaiting a… Continue reading

Canada Post asks for halt to international shipments as parcel backlog grows

OTTAWA — Canada Post has asked its international partners to halt mail… Continue reading

Killer wildfire, bar shooting draw Trump to California

WASHINGTON — The killer wildfire in Northern California and the recent country-music… Continue reading

Trump visits as California struggles to locate 1,000 people

PARADISE, Calif. — President Donald Trump heads to Northern California on Saturday… Continue reading

UK leader fights back against critics amid Brexit upheaval

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May fought back against critics of… Continue reading

Workers at Quebec-run liquor stores begin 3-day strike, shutting down most outlets

MONTREAL — A labour dispute that began with stickers on store windows… Continue reading

Trump’s heated rhetoric not in line with U.S. actions: American senators

HALIFAX — Two outspoken U.S. senators — one Republican and one Democrat… Continue reading

B.C. government to bring lower transgender surgery to the province

VANCOUVER — Gwen Haworth says she always knew her gender identity, even… Continue reading

Action needed to reverse Canada’s wildlife decline, conservationists say

MONTREAL — Canada may be known for its wide-open spaces and wildlife,… Continue reading

Vancouver lawyer who prosecuted Khmer Rouge leaders welcomes genocide verdict

OTTAWA — A Vancouver lawyer who helped prosecute two of the Khmer… Continue reading

Trade war between U.S., China shows no sign of abating amid tough talk at APEC

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea — Leaders from the world’s two biggest… Continue reading

Most Read