Southern Alberta Newspapers
RCMP have been called in from across the province to assist with Fort McMurray relief efforts.
To that end, about 300 members are heading or have already arrived in the Fort McMurray area.
“Our primary goal is to protect human life,” said Cpl. Laurel Scott, Media Relations, K Division.
While it is a large deployment, it has been accomplished in such a way so as to not significantly disrupt policing services in Alberta communities, according to Scott.
“I want to let you know and reassure that we have made while we’ve made that deployment, the rest of the detachments within the province are still well covered, and we’re able to respond to emergency situations for the rest of the detachments,” she said.
“That’s something we’re very mindful of.”
RCMP has played a role on highways in the area, assisting with evacuation operations and are manning checkpoints on the highways north and south of the city, and taking part in roving patrols both inside the city and along Highway 63.
“Just to watch out for any motorists or people who are in trouble and need any assistance,” she said.
Scott said the officers are entering a very dangerous situation.
“Not only for them, but for all the emergency workers up there,” she said. She noted the officers have been forced to relocate, just as those seeking escape from the wildfires.
“I think early this morning they were relocated from where they were staying, and have been relocated again,” she said. “They have to move when the evacuations occur as well.”
There is a main operations centre located in K Division, which is in Edmonton.
“We have a main operations centre working to help provide on-the-ground assistance to the members who are up there,” said Scott.
Scott said she couldn’t comment on any specific issues police might deal with while working under great stress and pressure, she acknowledged some officers were working under especially difficult circumstances.
“It’s difficult,” she said.
“But some of these members have been dealing with their own losses, and their families have been evacuated, but they are standing behind to assist with this.”