By Cole Parkinson
The Taber/Vauxhall RCMP detachment has started to tighten up in regard to tracking their patrols in the Municipal District of Taber.
During Vauxhall town council’s regular meeting on Jan. 15, they got a glimpse of how many patrols the RCMP did in town during the month of December.
In the RCMP report, 306 total patrols were listed, which some councillors thought was a big leap from in the past.
“Doesn’t that seem way higher than compared to normal?” asked Deputy Mayor Richard Phillips, which many councillors agreed with.
While the new report may show higher numbers than usual, the RCMP say the biggest reason for that is the fact members have been encouraged to keep track of their patrols.
“This is an accurate reflection of how much we are actually getting up to Vauxhall. For the month of December, we were one member surplus. Whenever a member comes to investigate anything in any of our communities whether it be Barnwell, Vauxhall or in the M.D. of Taber, I have encouraged them, if you have to go to Vauxhall for a file, so if somebody calls in a driving complaint in Vauxhall. Drive up to Vauxhall, investigate the driving complaint, drive around the town of Vauxhall and that is a patrol, which it is,” said Sgt. Gord Yetman.
Another factor highlighted by Yetman was the fact the amount of time spent in these areas was never recorded as much as it should have been.
“I think what we had been doing for a long time, we were maybe not capturing the time we were spending in these communities. The other thing is if it appears that we are not here a lot, and I think you are going to find that we are up here quite a bit, but a lot of times we are up here after midnight or after 10 at night. It may be less likely that anybody is seeing us but 306 would be fairly accurate. We have members up here quite a bit and members can easily make two or three patrols of Vauxhall in one night,” he explained.
Park patrols in December were listed as M.D. of Taber Park 53, Enchant 38, the Forks 16, Grassy Lake Park 27, Hays 0 and a total of 134.
RCMP visibility in communities in the M.D. of Taber has also been an initiative the detachment has been working on since the fall.
After some changes to their schedules, RCMP night patrols have seen a bump in activity.
“We’ve done things to enhance our visibility. Back in September, I changed our shift schedule which means now there are more nights during the week where we have two members on instead of one. So if we have two members working in the area, one may be patrolling Barnwell where the other is up here in Vauxhall, we are increasing our presence that way,” continued Yetman.
With added night patrols and more accurate tracking, the number of patrols across the region have seen increases.
Yetman also highlighted the members as big reasons why the patrols were so high last month.
“Just to put it into perspective, our total patrols for the month of December was 1,012. Our members are rocking it when it comes to getting out to the communities right now and we are keeping track of when the patrols were done. It is good because if someday calls in and says ‘I haven’t seen a police car in Barnwell in the last six months’, I can say a police car was there at 6 p.m. on Sunday. We are keeping closer track of things and what we are doing,” he said.
Another component of increased visibility for the RCMP is school visits.
With members assigned different schools throughout the M.D., RCMP expects those numbers to see increases as well.
“Schools visits as well, members have all been assigned individual schools. For the third quarter, we have done six visits, those have been captured. I suspect there have been a couple more when you take into account we had someone come up for Remembrance Day ceremonies or what not as well,” added Yetman.
The RCMP delegation was received as information.
Coun. Jake Wiebe was absent.