By Stephen Dafoe
Gibbons – While Morinville RCMP continue to investigate who may be shooting at vehicles in town, another interested party said he has been monitoring local traffic shooting past stop signs.
Gordon Ainley of K-9 Patrol, a private security company, made a presentation to Gibbons Town Council July 28, offering his observations of night-time activities in the town. Ainley said his company has been employed since March as security on the condominium development in town, and took the liberty to do a little examination of Main Street Gibbons in early June.
“During the time that I’ve been here, I’ve noticed there is certainly a lack of any police presence in town in the evening,” Ainley said, adding that during his June 4 stakeout, he observed several infractions. “People really don’t seem to care about any rules and regulations or at least they seem to think they don’t apply to them.”
Ainley said one area of particular concern were the instances of drunk driving that he noted in the late evening hours before the bars closed, individuals whom he said he tried to convince to take alternate means to get home.
In his three-page report to Gibbons Town Council, Ainley reported a number of violations he claims to have obsevered, including driving or rolling through stop signs, speeding along Main Street, jaywalking and children riding bicycles all over the road and into the path of oncoming traffic, often without helmets.
The security professional told council people seemed pleased to see someone keeping a watchful eye on the town.
“They know there’s no RCMP,” Ainley said, adding that police officers come when they are called. “But they don’t stick around. They leave right away. So there is no presence at all.”
The K-9 Patrol owner offered his services to Gibbons to act as eyes and ears and to issue tickets Thursday through Saturday between the hours of 7 p.m. and 3 a.m., a time when Sturgeon County Peace Officers do not offer service to the town.
“Basically you have an unprotected town from four o’clock on, except when the Mounties are called for a specific call.” Ainley said. “Other than that, they have no time for routine patrols or anything. So there really is no deterrent from the RCMP.”
Ainley said that since being in Gibbons he’s observed drivers slowing down when they know he is around, but observed they continue to speed and run stop signs when he remained out of view.
However, not all council members were delighted with what Ainley had to say or how he said it. Councillor Bart Wyatt took issue with what he saw as Ainley’s branding Gibbons’ residents as lawless.
“I don’t agree with your statement that our people in town, our citizens, don’t respect the law,” Wyatt said. “I do not agree with that statement. I actually find it very insulting.”
Ainley replied that he was only reporting what he had observed, and that he did not intend to malign the residents of the community.
“I didn’t mean to suggest that people in town don’t listen, but there are people that really don’t seem to care,” Ainley said.
Mayor Nimmo directed administration to look into what it would cost to employ Ainley’s services and report the findings back to council.