Above: RCMP K Division Community Policing expert Jennifer Kee, Sgt. Dale Kendall, and CPO Sergeant Will Norton. – Lucie Roy Photo
by Lucie Roy
Morinville Detachment NCO 1/c Sgt. Dale Kendall and Jennifer Kee, RCMP K Division Community Policing expert made a presentation at the cultural centre Tuesday night as part of an enforcement services event.
Members of the Citizens on Patrol (COP) were also in attendance with a table filled with their pamphlets, information and tamper-proof anti-theft license plate security screws.
Sgt. Kendall spoke of the large area the Morinville Detachment covers and how Morinville is considered a municipal and provincial detachment. They have funding from the local municipality and from the government in a 70/30 split.
Morinville is currently having resourcing issues in but Kendall said it is not specific or unique to Morinville and is happening provincewide.
Right now they are working with eight out of fifteen Constables on the front line and that is due to soft and hard vacancies, meaning people have transferred out and they are waiting for new members to transfer in. Soft vacancies include parental leave and medical leave. Of the 17 Constables, one of those is in the Enhanced School Officer Training Program and Kendall said the member is doing a fantastic job at two of the high schools here and one of the other positions is supposed to be with General Investigation unit, it is the serious crime unit.
Running a 24-hour detachment is tough with eight Constables and three Corporals doing the job and working, Kendall explained.
Primary concerns in Morinville are property crimes, which was the focus of the Tuesday presentation.
Kendall said calls from residents indicating their vehicle or home was broken into look good when compared to other surrounding communities in the Central Alberta District.
“We are looking really good,” Kendall said. “But the end goal is zero crime. That is where you want to live.”
The top files, in Morinville right now are Break & Enters, sexual assaults and impaired operations. There have been 10 sexual assaults reported up to Oct. 3.
There have been 40 break and enter complaints up until the same date. Kendall said the Detachment received a lot of calls about vehicles and eight times out of 10, the vehicle was not locked. She emphasized for people to lock their homes and vehicles.
Kendall said, with respect to property crime, one GIS member is focusing on the hot spots, where the primary and high crime areas are for the municipality and within Sturgeon County and directing patrols in those areas.
Kendall said they have many initiatives that are ongoing to reduce crimes.
“When we look at the big picture of Morinville we have all of our community partners and that is exactly what policing is – enforcement is a partner, policing is a partner, fire is a partner, Alberta Health Services. We are all partners. We are all one piece of the puzzle,” Kendall said. “The community itself is also a key to that puzzle and it is up to each individual homeowner and citizen to take ownership of our community, by protecting their home, themselves and the community.
Jennifer Kee said the problem encountered right now is habitual offenders.
In 2013 a program called Habitual Offender Management was developed, giving officers the tools to bring in the habitual offenders that are creating crimes over and over again. Kee said 20 per cent of offenders are responsible for approximately 80 per cent of crime.
“There is proactive policing and reactive policing,” Kee said. “The focus is on the habitual offenders, hot spots, and the crime causation issues and going beyond the enforcement.”
Placing repeat offenders on the program provides them with a list of resources, phone numbers and the program is applicable to both youth adults and in non-voluntary. The youth do not require parental consent to be placed on the program – it is not negotiable.
The benefits include reduction in the volume of calls for service for several service providers, decrease in man hours for the same offenders, longer custodial sentences, knowing the offender and risk assessment, engagement of the community as equal partners in this issue, decreased victimization, changes in perception by the courts, information sharing and sustainability.
The vision is for a reduction in crime and a reduction in time spent on repeat offenders and their files.