By Cole Parkinson
The Municipal District of Taber is looking to kick start their new community based law enforcement program Range Patrol.
The initiative was discussed at the M.D.’s Jan. 25 regular meeting and councillors were able to give their thoughts on getting the program started.
The program will be looking for community members to join who want to be involved in keeping the area safe as well as doing regular patrols.
To drum up some interest, they will be holding open houses in different towns and hamlets throughout the M.D later this month.
“We’ll have a community peace officer there, either (Dana) Butler, myself or (Henry) Peters, and Tiana Straga (volunteer coordinator for the Range Patrol) will be there to spearhead it. We’ll get the initial meeting started and hopefully get some people signed up. We’ll talk about some of the vetting processes and some of the things we’re looking for. The good news, speaking with the RCMP yesterday, they are very much on board with this,” said Kirk Hughes, development and community safety officer for the M.D. of Taber.
With the guarantee of seeing the M.D. CPO’s at the meetings, council was also hopeful of seeing RCMP representatives there as well.
“I’d really like the RCMP to be at all of these open houses if possible. I think it’s important that they’re at these meetings as well so it doesn’t seem that it’s just an M.D. initiative,” said Coun. John Turcato, while Hughes confirmed they would try their best to make it work based upon their schedules on the given days.
“They are interested and they want to make it a priority. He (Cpl. Gord Yettman) will try to make sure they have representation there,” added Hughes.
With the growing concern of rural crime throughout Alberta, the M.D. is looking at different options including volunteer community based programs to fold under their Regional Enforcement Services.
The need to get the community involved stems from the rising crime in the area and local law enforcement agencies have been overwhelmed with the amount of law breaking that has occurred.
“This is kind of our starting phase of trying to help these communities target the rural crime. We’re looking for people to be present, the biggest thing is eyes and ears,” said Coun. Jennifer Crowson.
On top of being the “eyes and ears” of the community, the M.D. is also looking for executive members to help with administrative functions as well.
Four open houses will happen in four different places including Hays, Grassy Lake, Enchant and Taber, all going from 6-8 p.m.
Hays will host their Range Patrol open house at the Hays Public Library on Feb. 26, Chamberlain School in Grassy Lake will host the open house on March 1, Enchant will host at the Enchant Library on March 5 and Taber’s open house will be held at the M.D. of Taber administration office-reeve room on March 8.
If you are not able to attend one of the open houses but are interested in participating in the initiative, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 403-223-4784.