Swift Cur­rent RCMP re­ports more calls for ser­vice

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

The RCMP de­tach­ment in Swift Cur­rent ex­pe­ri­enced more calls for ser­vice in Oc­to­ber 2018 com­pared to the same month in the pre­vi­ous two years. Staff Sgt. Gary Hodges pre­sented the com­mu­nity polic­ing re­port at a reg­u­lar City of Swift Cur­rent coun­cil meet­ing, Dec. 3.

He pro­vided in­for­ma­tion about of­fences re­ported and/or com­mit­ted in the com­mu­nity dur­ing the month of Oc­to­ber. There was a to­tal of 451 calls for ser­vice in Oc­to­ber 2018 com­pared to 399 for the same month in 2017 and 439 in Oc­to­ber 2016.

“They present as the high­est in three years for num­ber of calls for ser­vice,” he told the meet­ing. “In par­tic­u­lar, you'll note there's an in­crease in theft un­der $5,000 calls, which is due in part to a num­ber of car shop­ping com­plaints.”

There were 30 in­ci­dents of theft un­der $5,000 in Oc­to­ber 2018. There were 22 such in­ci­dents in Oc­to­ber 2017 and 24 in Oc­to­ber 2016. Hodges has fre­quently spo­ken dur­ing pre­vi­ous pre­sen­ta­tions to coun­cil about the need for res­i­dents to lock their ve­hi­cles and to keep valu­able items out of sight as a way to pre­vent op­por­tunis­tic in­di­vid­u­als from com­mit­ting a crime.

“We en­cour­age peo­ple again this time of year to please lock your car,” he said. “Don't leave your keys in it, be­cause while you're out shop­ping there are oth­ers who maybe is shop­ping com­pli­ments of you and your ve­hi­cle. Please se­cure your ve­hi­cles to help pre­vent that crime.”

There were nine calls in Oc­to­ber in re­la­tion to im­paired driv­ing and charges were laid in one case. Six of these calls were un­founded and po­lice de­ter­mined the driv­ing was not due to im­pair­ment, but some other is­sue.

While the to­tal calls for ser­vice in­creased com­pared to the pre­vi­ous two years in Oc­to­ber, the statis­tics in­di­cate no sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in of­fences re­ported and/or com­mit­ted in the com­mu­nity and for some cat­e­gories the num­ber of in­ci­dents were less or sim­i­lar to the pre­vi­ous two years.

In ad­di­tion to the in­crease in the cat­e­gory for theft un­der $5,000 there were in­creases in a num­ber of other cat­e­gories for the month of Oc­to­ber. Re­portable ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents in­creased from eight last year to 12 in Oc­to­ber 2018. In­ci­dents un­der the Mental Health Act in­creased from 22 last year to 33 in Oc­to­ber 2018. Drug en­force­ment in­ci­dents in­creased from 11 last year to 12 this year.

In­ci­dents of possession of stolen prop­erty changed from two last year to six in Oc­to­ber 2018. Crim­i­nal record checks in­creased from 147 in Oc­to­ber 2017 to 188 in Oc­to­ber 2018.

Staff Sgt. Hodges re­ferred in his pre­sen­ta­tion to the calls for ser­vice for the year to date, which is also the high­est in three years. The year to date calls for ser­vice in 2018 is 4,178 com­pared to 4,160 in 2017 and 3,840 in 2016.

“So we con­tinue to work away at those calls and make the com­mu­nity a safer place,” he said.

The statis­tics pre­sented at the meet­ing in­di­cate that in­ci­dents in most cat­e­gories for year to date were sim­i­lar or even less than in the pre­vi­ous two years. The cat­e­gory with the most sig­nif­i­cant in­crease for the year to date is for pro­vin­cial traf­fic of­fences, which in­creased from 1,194 in 2017 to 1,347 in 2018. Other cat­e­gories with in­creases for the year to date are im­paired driv­ing of­fences (84 in 2018 com­pared to 80 in 2017), in­ci­dents un­der the Mental Health Act (196 for 2018 com­pared to 169 in 2017), drug en­force­ment (118 in 2018 against 94 in 2017), and possession of stolen prop­erty (36 in 2018 com­pared to 32 in 2017).

Staff Sgt. Hodges high­lighted two re­cent in­ci­dents in the com­mu­nity dur­ing his pre­sen­ta­tion. A very sub­stan­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­cluded suc­cess­fully when a search war­rant was ex­e­cuted on Nov. 15 at a res­i­dence on the 1500 block of Win­nie Street East. A large amount of drugs, weapons and cash were seized. The to­tal street value of the metham­phetamine, co­caine and am­phet­a­mines is $66,000.

He also pro­vided an up­date on the RCMP's on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion to lo­cate the driver of the truck that crashed into the Swift Cur­rent Creek on Nov. 16.

“We're still at­tempt­ing to lo­cate who we be­lieve to be the driver of the ve­hi­cle, a fel­low by the name of Colton Koop,” Staff Sgt. Hodges said. “Our mem­bers are ac­tively pur­su­ing that still and we will un­til such time as we can see him in front of us. So if any­body does know of any­where that he may be, we aren't look­ing to ar­rest him. All we want to do is make sure he is safe for his fam­ily's sake. So that's a fo­cus that we con­tinue daily to work on.”

Coun­cil pre­vi­ously re­quested that the school li­ai­son of­fi­cer should at­tend a coun­cil meet­ing to talk about his ac­tiv­i­ties. Const. Tony Curti was present at the meet­ing to give an over­view of his ac­tiv­i­ties since he took over the du­ties of school li­ai­son of­fi­cer at the Swift Cur­rent Com­pre­hen­sive High School on Sept. 1.

“I had a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties to do some ran­dom talks to classes,” he said. “So I pop in ev­ery time I see class­rooms are open ... and try to in­clude my­self in any way I can just to show vis­i­bil­ity. That's very im­por­tant to me, just to be vis­i­ble.”

He has been in­volved in three violent threat risk as­sess­ments, which are done by the RCMP and other agen­cies to keep stu­dents and staff safe. It re­sulted in three Crim­i­nal Code charges, and he has charged one per­son un­der the new Cannabis Act. He has dealt with traf­fic re­lated is­sues and is­sued a ticket for stunt driv­ing.

He prefers not to park in the ded­i­cated park­ing spot for the po­lice ve­hi­cle, but to park in the stu­dent park­ing area.

“I want to be in­cluded into where the kids are usu­ally park­ing, where the problems are,” he said. “The problems are usu­ally cen­tred around a cer­tain area.”

He made it known that he will park there, and he felt it has changed the dy­namic of the park­ing lot sit­u­a­tion.

Const. Curti has re­ceived some re­quests to talk to stu­dents about drugs. He de­cided not to bore stu­dents with statis­tics, but to bring in a speaker who can talk about her own ex­pe­ri­ences. She is a re­cov­er­ing meth ad­dict and drug dealer who spent time in prison.

“The best per­son to speak about what drugs do to you, is that per­son,” he said. “She is hard hit­ting, her story is riv­et­ing, it's shock­ing, and it's all based from her time at Swift Cur­rent Comp and how it el­e­vated from mar­i­juana use to meth use to sell­ing and even­tu­ally go­ing to jail for it.”

She has talked to four classes so far, in­clud­ing a com­bined group of Grade 9-12 stu­dents. He plans to con­tinue to use her as a speaker.

“I think ev­ery kid in that school should hear what she has to say, be­cause it's hard hit­ting,” he noted.

His goal is to par­tic­i­pate in a va­ri­ety of school ac­tiv­i­ties to in­crease his vis­i­bil­ity and to en­sure that he is ap­proach­able to stu­dents who want to talk to him. His in­volve­ment has in­cluded Re­mem­brance Day, SADD meet­ings, a mock­tail com­pe­ti­tion, judg­ing at a de­bate com­pe­ti­tion and even join­ing the school's wrestling team.

Mayor De­nis Per­rault noted that this school li­ai­son po­si­tion is funded by the City, the only one in the prov­ince fully funded by a lo­cal au­thor­ity.

“We still feel we're get­ting very good value for the money we're spend­ing,” he said.

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