Swift Current RCMP to host another town hall meeting
The RCMP detachment in Swift Current will be hosting another town hall meeting in early November to receive feedback from city residents about policing issues.
Staff Sgt. Gary Hodges announced the date of the event during the presentation of the community policing report at a regular council meeting, Sept. 28.
“All detachments across the province are mandated to hold two a year,” he said.
There was a town hall meeting in Swift Current in the spring. The second one will take place on Nov. 8 at the Elmwood golf course clubhouse, starting at 7 p.m.
Members of the community with questions about why the police do what they do and how they do it, or with any concerns about policing in the city are encouraged to attend the town hall meeting.
Staff Sgt. Hodges presented the community policing report for August 2018 to councillors. It was the busiest August in three years for the detachment, with 463 calls for service compared to 445 in August 2017 and 350 in August 2016.
Overall there was no significant change in crime trends during August that was any cause for concern. One exception was the increase in the number of provincial traffic offences. There were 211 offences in August 2018 compared to 57 a year ago, and 78 in August 2016. This increase was due to the presence of the combined traffic enforcement section in the city, which is made up of traffic services members of the RCMP from across the southwest as well as members of the Regina and Moose Jaw police services.
There were nine drug related offences in August 2018. There were also nine such offences in August 2017 and four in August 2016.
This past August the members of the Swift Current RCMP detachment executed drug search warrants at two different residences, where they seized some fentanyl, crystal meth and cocaine, as well as a large amount of Canadian currency and some weapons.
Provincial SCAN officers, who are responsible for enforcing the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act, participated in the execution of the search warrant at one residence.
“They have provincial legislation that they can utilize when properties are rented by individuals who are utilizing them for illegal premise or purposes, and they lead at the event and secure those residence,” he explained.
Staff Sgt. Hodges referred to steps taken by the RCMP to prepare for the federal legalization of cannabis in Canada on Oct. 17. The RCMP has been developing a training curriculum for the use of an oral fluid screening device.
“Currently there's a limited number of those in possession of the RCMP and I've been told they'll be deployed in a strategic manner in consultation with the provincial and municipal partners,” he said. “Members are also in the process of taking online training in relation to the federal legislation. I have seen the draft of the provincial legislation, but it's my understanding it hasn't passed to date. So the guys will be getting up to speed on that once it goes through the legislature.”
In response to a question from Councillor Ron Toles about the location of the oral fluid screening devices, Staff Sgt. Hodges said no decision has yet been taken on where these devices will be kept.
“I'll be lobbying for one, obviously, but I can't confirm that we will get one,” he mentioned. “There's some indication that they may be mobile and the combined traffic units will rotate them around with them when they go into different communities with their programs, but I don't have confirmation on that either at this time.”
So far no members of the Swift Current RCMP detachment have been trained to use these devices, but two members of the traffic unit in the area and two officers from the RCMP rural detachment in the city have received the training.
“So there's four in the area and they make themselves available at any given time to come in, even if they're off duty,” he said. “We basically get the grounds to proceed to a drug recognition expert evaluation of a driver.”
Officers need some time to complete the training to use an oral fluid screening device. They have to attend training for 15 working days in Regina, and thereafter they have to go to Phoenix, Arizona, or Jacksonville, Florida, for practical training.
“I think it's 12 tests they have to successfully conduct on federal inmates down there who have volunteered to be under the influence of different drugs so that they can actually do practical tests and become certified,” he said.