Supt. Gerald Grobmeier, of Red Deer City RCMP, looks forward to getting on with the job of crime fighting now that uncertainty around a policing review is over. He said he’s always open to new innovations. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

City’s decision to stick with RCMP ‘a vote of confidence’

Supt. Grobmeier said he’s glad to get back to work after the uncertainty of a policing review

The City of Red Deer has reaffirmed its support for the RCMP, leaving Supt. Gerald Grobmeier relieved to be “moving forward” with the job of cracking down on crime.

“It’s a vote of confidence in the RCMP, and our members are happy knowing they have a home in Red Deer,” said the city’s top RCMP officer.

Grobmeier admitted it’s been difficult on RCMP officers to work under the uncertainty of a review that could have replaced the force with a municipal police service.

“It’s hard to work if you don’t know if you’ll be here or not… We ask our members to do more and be part of the community, and then they ask: will they really be part of the community?

“It’s hard to motivate people and it’s hard on morale,” Grobmeier added — so he’s pleased that council voted 6-3 on Tuesday to stick with the RCMP.

He predicted the majority of local police officers would otherwise have had to leave the city: “Police officers who want to work for a municipal force would be already working for a municipal force.”

The majority of city councillors determined that switching to a municipal police service wasn’t worth the disruption and extra expense, especially at this time of high crime and a slow economy.

Even the three councillors who wanted a change, based on discontent that the national force is not quick in adapting to change, praised Red Deer city RCMP members for their local crime-fighting efforts.

Grobmeier said he’s always open to taking on new challenges and innovations. For example, Red Deer RCMP are in the midst of a pilot project with K Division in Edmonton, testing the advantages of a new way of doing police business.

Instead of front-line police officers rushing back to the detachment to do their own paperwork on each crime case, police officers are now calling in this information to a civilian police employee who is filling out the required forms.

Grobmeier feels this not only frees up front-line police officers to stay on the street looking for criminals, but the data is more consistently and thoroughly recorded, which helps make a better case in court.

This system was started in a few small detachments, and now is proving quite effective in Red Deer’s larger detachment, he added.

If the decision is made to carry on with this method of data entry after the pilot project is completed in January or February, Grobmeier said more decisions will have to be made about who will be collecting information for police officers.

Will K-Division staff continue doing it, or is there a way of rejigging the duties of civilian employees in Red Deer?

Given the state of the city’s lean 2020 operating budget, he understands more local hiring is unlikely.

The superintendent acknowledged that “some things take longer” with the RCMP than some people might like. For instance, the force is still rolling out android phones to its members.

On the other hand, Grobmeier said each detachment does have some leeway to make positive changes at the local level.

A few years ago, the Red Deer city detachment became the first to bring in a small robot to help lessen the discomfort of young crime victims who have to testify at the police station.

The robot, called ARD-E, is only a couple of feet high, and can sing and dance as it tells kids what they can expect.

“It walks them through the court system,” said Grobmeier, who noted this robot was first used to comfort children in hospitals.

When the local victims services team thought it would help in their area as well, money was found to purchase it. He believes ARD-E has been a benefit to many “traumatized” children.

Grobmeier said he’s looking forward to working with city administration to incorporate local priorities into the next annual policing plan in April.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Red Deer City Council

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

Just Posted

Red Deer gets $7M from province for an emergency 24/7 homeless shelter

Councillor says the location will be decided through community consultations

‘Finer focus on job creation:’ Alberta government files red-ink budget

EDMONTON — The Alberta budget is counting on oil and gas bouncing… Continue reading

WATCH: Tabling of the 2020 Alberta budget

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is scheduled to reveal the provincial budget at… Continue reading

VIDEO: Grumpy sea lion resists help back to water in Washington state

Crews were able to coax her into a crate to carry her back to water

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

Granlund beats buzzer, scores in OT as Preds beat Flames 4-3

Predators 4 Flames 3 (OT) NASHVILLE — The Nashville Predators gambled that… Continue reading

Ministers wrap pipeline talks with hereditary chiefs for the day in B.C.

SMITHERS, B.C. — The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en sat down Thursday… Continue reading

Gardening: Taking a break from the winter

Looking for a break from winter and dream of summer without leaving… Continue reading

Ottawa imposes new rules to protect fragile population of right whales

HALIFAX — Canada has rolled out new measures to protect the critically… Continue reading

Canada pumps nearly 900 billion litres of raw sewage into waterways since 2013

OTTAWA — Canada’s old-fashioned city sewer systems dumped nearly 900 billion litres… Continue reading

Federal government in good financial shape, provinces not so much: PBO

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals could add billions of dollars in spending… Continue reading

Ottawa’s LRT line leaves thousands out in the cold during heavy snowstorm

OTTAWA — Many transit riders in Ottawa were left out in the… Continue reading

Most Read