Swift Cur­rent RCMP to host an­other town hall meet­ing

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Swift Current - BY MATTHEW LIEBENBERG— mlieben­berg@prairiepost.com

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.

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