Red Deer’s top cop staying the course

Ken Foster takes the long view on crime fighting

Red Deer RCMP’s new boss Ken Foster takes the long view on crime fighting.

“As boring as this may be, staying the course is very important,” says the detachment’s new superintendent in a recent sit-down interview with the Red Deer Advocate.

Red Deer’s policing priorities have been developed by city staff, council and RCMP with input from community residents and agencies. Those priorities have shaped how police approach their work in the community — and that’s a long-term project.

“You can’t have the flavour du jour,” he says. “You can’t change the horse in midstream. Those priorities are set for a reason.”

The city’s challenges are similar to those faced by most Alberta communities: property crime, organized crime and drugs. Intertwined often are addiction and mental health issues.

Tackling this means ensuring all the community’s resources are working together. At the police level, that means co-ordinating nearly 160 officers and almost 90 civilian support staff for the same mission.

“One of my key messages, and a big thing for me, is that it doesn’t matter whether you’re support staff or a front-line officer, each person plays an integral role in public safety.

“If everybody is doing their job, and everybody is singing from the same song sheet … you can really start moving the yard sticks.”

Foster comes to Red Deer from St. Albert. That city of 65,000 just outside Edmonton has historically had low crime rates. By comparison, Red Deer has been at the high end of crime statistics for a number of years.

Red Deer was ranked second-most dangerous city in Canada, after Grande Prairie, based on crime severity index, by Maclean’s Magazine earlier this year.

There are many factors that come into play; geography, demographics, population growth, health issues such as addictions, and economics all shape crime levels to an extent.

But the results prompted RCMP to roll out Project Pinpoint.

“It’s targeting the whos, the whats the wheres and the whys, the whens, the spots, the places and the prolific offenders,” explains Foster

“And that’s policing smarter and we have to police smarter.”

The approach is working, he says.

“Crime trends are still going up, (but) they are going up at less fast a pace than they were before the start of Project Pinpoint.”

Foster has been impressed by the level of commitment by the community to addressing crime, as well as the underlying issues that feed it.

“There’s a great desire to work collaboratively to solve some of these issues,” he says. “And when you get that sort of commitment, you can move mountains.”

Just Posted

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

EDMONTON — Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg marched into the middle of… Continue reading

Alleged sex assault victim details struggles in proposed suit against Toronto school

TORONTO — A former student at an all-boys Catholic school in Toronto… Continue reading

Leaders trade accusations of desperation tactics as campaign heads down to wire

OTTAWA — The three main party leaders accused one another of desperation… Continue reading

Probation for some new Alberta bus, truck drivers after Broncos family pressure

EDMONTON — Alberta’s transportation minister says there will be a two-year probationary… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP looking for missing 64-year-old woman

Red Deer RCMP are asking the public to help find a missing… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer Citizens on Patrol monitoring downtown with new program

Volunteers will patrol downtown Red Deer to help keep the city safe.… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Wednesday Red Deer River Naturalists Flower Focus Group Meeting. When: Oct. 16… Continue reading

Meet the candidates running in Red Deer-Mountain View

Each of the candidates running in the Red Deer-Mountain View riding were… Continue reading

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

EDMONTON — Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg marched into the middle of… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels struggle early, fall to Oil Kings

Oil Kings 5 Rebels 1 It’s been a tough stretch for the… Continue reading

Pick ’Em: No clear favourite on Canadian men’s curling scene this season

The days of just one or two Canadian men’s curling teams being… Continue reading

Brooke Henderson hits hole in 1, leads LPGA Shanghai

SHANGHAI — Canada’s Brooke Henderson hit a hole-in-one and shot a tournament… Continue reading

Alleged sex assault victim details struggles in proposed suit against Toronto school

TORONTO — A former student at an all-boys Catholic school in Toronto… Continue reading

Leaders trade accusations of desperation tactics as campaign heads down to wire

OTTAWA — The three main party leaders accused one another of desperation… Continue reading

Most Read