By J.W. Schnarr
Taber/Vauxhall RCMP is providing local residents an opportunity to help them focus on important local issues through an annual performance plan.
“We basically focus on any issues that the community brings forth,” said Cst. Melanie Schefter. “Usually they are traffic offences or impaired driving, whatever is going on that’s a concern. We just ask them to get in touch with us and let us know what their major concerns are so we can put our annual performance plan in place and focus on those specific things.”
Schefter said while she has not received word yet from local residents on any major, pressing issues, she has had some conversations involving what she termed the “usual” issues people have, including traffic-related issues and impaired driving.
“Those are the two we focused on last year, and we’ll probably focus on them again this year,” she said. “In addition to that, we’ll be providing a crime reduction strategy to our (plan).”
A crime reduction strategy involves developing a plan to target specific illegal activities, such as mischief or other events. She said because the Municipal District of Taber is so large and has a low violent crime rate, police would most likely be focusing on the kinds of crimes they do see on a fairly regular basis.
“What we likely will end up doing is focusing on those who are charged, and making sure they abide by any conditions that have been imposed on them by the courts,” she said.
“We’ve always brought these up to councils,” she said. She noted she personally brought the plan up with M.D. council back in March, and had asked for other officers attending meetings in other municipalities to inform those councils of the project. “We’ve been doing these for years, and it’s always with input from the community.”
Schefter said the offer to provide input extends past councils to local residents. People can drop by the detachment or call with concerns they have. Schefter said while the RCMP is always open to public discussion for any reason, they try to limit the scope of the performance plan to pressing or important issues.
Schefter said she is currently putting the plan to paper, so the sooner local residents with concerns can get in contact with the RCMP, the better. The plan will need to be in place prior to July 1, so anyone with a pressing issue to discuss is encouraged to do so before then.
“We’re going to take the highest priority issues,” she said. “In order to properly target (those issues), we are going to take the things that are of most concern and most prevalent.”
Performance goals are revisited every three months to ensure police remain on target. At the end of the year, those statistics will be evaluated to see if the project has been successful.
“We have tracking sheets every month we complete, and we input that information into the performance plan,” she said. “At the end of the year, we can see if we’ve met our targets or fallen short of our targets. We also document the reasons for either scenario.”
Schefter said her detachment has been collecting information for the past few months, and the public is welcome to contact them to discuss their concerns. Particularly any new, pressing issues that the RCMP may not yet be aware of.
“We’re always looking for that information,” she said. “If there are things that are happening and (local residents) are concerned, absolutely give us a call.”
“We rely on the public for a lot of the information we get,” she added. “We cover a wide area and there’s a decent-sized population to police. Without the public’s assistance, we can only get so far. We absolutely need their assistance.”
To provide input or to discuss major or pressing concerns for the performance plan, please contact the Taber/Vauxhall RCMP detachment at 403-223-4447. Residents are always invited to contact their local police departments with any concerns.