By Cole Parkinson
As the Taber/Vauxhall RCMP detachment continues to work together with the Municipal District of Taber council, staffing levels have continued to be strong.
While not every detachment across Canada is fully staffed, the local station continues to have a thorough allotment in terms of officers.
Council was updated on current RCMP dealings during their regular meeting on Oct. 8 and a question was brought forward around what concerns the RCMP may have in the M.D.
“There are two issues sort of going on right now. One is the Solicitor General going around doing these rural crime events. I know you have to be careful, but what are your thoughts? I know you are fully staffed here, and it has been a challenge in the past but the last few years (the detachment has been full). What are some of the issues you see here?” asked Coun. Brian Brewin.
Even with a complete roster of RCMP officers at the local detachment, the RCMP delegation explained that if more bodies were available, they would benefit from that.
“Certainly, we are fully staffed. That being said, I don’t know an industry out there where they are fully staffed and still don’t say ‘I could use just one more.’ We are no different. If you tell me I have six uniformed members to work with, I am going to work with six uniformed members and in my opinion, I can do a very good job of working with those six members. But, I am no different from any other industry. If someone came and told me I could have one more, I would take one more,” said Sgt. Gord Yetman.
The local RCMP also have a variety of resources they can use in terms of additional support including the M.D. of Taber community peace officers and the newly-formed South Central Rural Crime Watch Society.
Brewin further inquired about other investigative units the RCMP can rely upon in southern Alberta.
“I know you have ALERT (Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team) which is a little bit like that,” he continued.
While ALERT is certainly an added benefit for the Taber/Vauxhall detachment, one other group of workers was pointed to as another big aid to the officers.
“We do still have the crime reduction unit that is out there. They have crime analysts and to be honest with you, as a smaller detachment in rural Alberta, I get the most value out of having that crime analyst. Because that crime analyst is in their office and working on various trends so they are able to tell us ‘this is a trend in your area.’ We get different lists from them. We get lists of prolific offenders, lists of hot spots and like I said, a lot of these thefts, especially the ones that were solved, they were solved through information sharing with other detachments and what not. That has proved very effective so it is a way to hedge our bets in terms of catching these criminals at the end of the day,” explained Yetman. “Right now, we have a very close relationship with ALERT out of Lethbridge. One of my members meets with them monthly and we have actually had them come into our detachment to sit down. Even them coming down to sit and have a coffee for 15 minutes is extremely beneficial. We can share a lot of information back and forth. A lot of people they work on seem to be common to this area. When talking RCMP, we have a lot of different groups that are in play. Not only do you have crime reduction units, you also have the ALERT team that works on these fairly significant investigations and you also have GIS (General Investigation Sections) units.”
With the RCMP having monthly visits with M.D. council during regular meetings, the conversation is always on-going as to how they both can work together to prevent more rural crime.
The local RCW program came from a result of the two discussing a further way to provide further protective measures for RCW and another was around enhanced policing.
“I know we did talk a little bit about enhanced policing and that is something I definitely would be willing to explore if council was willing to explore,” said Yetman. “I can tell you the situation is not what it was two years ago. If I have a position, I will fill it and keep it filled.”