Prairie Post (East Edition)

Swift Current RCMP reports fatal drug overdose in quarterly update

- By Matthew Liebenberg mliebenber­g@prairiepos­t.com

The latest RCMP policing report for Swift Current shows an increase in illicit drug overdoses, of which one was fatal.

Staff Sgt. Evan Gordon, the commanding officer of the Swift Current municipal RCMP detachment, presented the quarterly community policing report during a regular City council meeting, Oct. 17.

The report covers the period July to September 2022, which is the second quarter of the RCMP fiscal year.

He referred to various trends in offences reported and/or committed under various reporting categories during this period.

“It was a busy quarter,” he noted. “The majority of that was property crime and Mental Health Act complaints were up as well.”

He has spoken frequently about overdoses from illicit substances during previous presentati­ons at council meetings. He reported four overdoses and no fatalities in his previous report, but for the second quarter there was an increase in overdoses to seven, of which one incident was fatal.

“Of those seven, we were able to identify that two involved fentanyl,” he said. “So fentanyl is still very much in the community and continues to be a danger to the community, or to the people that are choosing to use it.”

There was a drop in serious person crimes during the latest reporting period. The number of assaults, which excludes sexual assaults, were down to 41 incidents compared to 71 cases for the same reporting period of July to September in 2021.

There were eight sexual offences for the period July to September 2022, which is the same number as reported for this period in 2021.

There was an increase in violations listed in the category for other Criminal Code offences from 96 in 2021 to 111 for the same July to September period in 2022. He felt this was largely due to an increase in the number of breaches of court orders.

“We saw an increase of almost 100 per cent in court order breaches,” he said.

These breaches occurred when individual­s were released from custody under specific conditions determined by the court, but they decided to ignore those restrictio­ns.

Gordon said those individual­s made their initial court appearance­s on a variety of charges, including assaults, assaults with a weapon, sex assaults, mischief, thefts of vehicle and drug traffickin­g. In some cases, they breached their court order conditions multiple times. In one case during this three-month reporting period the police had 16 different additional interactio­ns with an individual who ignored court conditions.

“We’re working to keep these people to abide by their conditions, but in some cases there’s no appetite on that person himself,” he said.

He added that these breaches of court conditions contribute­d

towards an increase in some offences in certain categories such as thefts under or over $5,000.

The number of offences in the category theft under $5,000 remained high during the reporting period. There were 95 incidents for July to September 2022 compared to 41 for the same period in 2021.

“In this quarter, about half of those 95 thefts under $5,000 were thefts from vehicles or shopliftin­g,” he said. “So two areas to point to and look at some preventati­ve measures. … I just would like to remind the members of the public how important it is to make sure your vehicles are locked and even if your vehicles are locked, making sure that valuables are out of sight, put away, taken out of the vehicle.”

The RCMP can provide business owners with tips on loss prevention tactics and he urged businesses to report shopliftin­g incidents to the police, which will help officers to catch offenders before they do it again.

There were 13 offences in the category theft over $5,000 for the period July to September 2022 compared to nine occurrence­s for this same period in 2021.

Ten of the 13 offences were related to vehicles thefts, of which four were consistent with the modus operandi of vehicle thieves.

“So the vehicle was legitimate­ly taken by persons unknown,” he explained. “It wasn’t a civil matter where two people believed they had the same rights to the property. With two of those cases, so two of the four, we saw vehicles with keys left in them. So not only unlocked, but keys sitting right there.”

Gordon mentioned that all four those vehicles stolen in a manner typical to such cases were recovered locally.

“I don’t want to say that any crime is less serious in nature, but these vehicles weren’t being taken on long road trips to Calgary or to Vancouver, things like that, and they weren’t being used in commission of further crimes as far as we can tell,” he said. “They were simply taken, because they were easily accessible and ditched a short distance away. It’s not to say that it’s not important to make sure your vehicle is locked and the keys are removed from them.”

He mentioned that the detachment’s Police and Crisis Team (PACT) worker Karla Rempel continues to have a busy caseload. She had 36 calls during the second quarter, which was almost the same number as in the previous quarter, despite having some time off over the summer months.

“So not just attending calls with us, not just calling people on the phone after the fact, but actually being there and being able to help divert someone from going into custody or from being forcibly taken to hospital,” Gordon said. “So again, she’s showing her value and the program’s value.”

His report to the council meeting included a reference to the attention given to the priority areas of the Swift Current RCMP detachment action plan.

One of the priority areas is drug use enforcemen­t and awareness. The detachment executed four search warrants during the second quarter and four individual­s were charged with offences under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act as well as for possession of stolen property.

“I think I’ve spoken about it before, but there’s a very strong correlatio­n between illicit drug use and property crime and when we execute these search warrants, we’re definitely seeing that,” he said.

Another priority area of the detachment’s action plan is traffic safety, distracted driving and impaired driving. Officers issued 24 tickets for distracted driving along with six warnings, and six impaired drivers were charged.

He mentioned for the priority area of preventing and reducing crime involving youth that students returned to school in September, which meant that school liaison officer Const. Tony Curti was also active again with day-to-day involvemen­t at the high school. He was involved in classroom activities and responded to requests for various presentati­ons.

He prepares various tips that are included in the high school’s announceme­nt. This practical safety advice to students is called Const. Curti Tip of the Week and it receives a lot of attention.

“This is something that’s gathering some momentum and it’s pretty fun to read some of these tips,” Gordon said.

He added that Curti was recently approached by students from another town who knew about these tips.

“They knew him and they knew of him through these tips,” he said. “So the students are sharing these tips around with friends.”

RCMP members have been involved with various fundraisin­g and volunteeri­ng activities during the reporting period, including participat­ion in the Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre Family Fun Day, the SaskAbilit­ies Walk Wheel Run event, and the Southwest Crisis Services Duck Derby.

“It’s great to see these young members taking on these roles outside of the detachment, outside of the nine to five of their shifts, and it’s really gratifying to see the impact that they’re able to make,” Gordon said.

The Swift Current ACT/UCT Stingrays Summer Swim Club concluded a successful season with their annual awards night, Oct. 16. The recipients of the various awards are below.

Most Improved Stinger – Bronwyn Baan and Lincoln Moffitt

Most Improved Stingray – Saylor Cuthbert and Declan Newton Fighting Heart Award – Sophia Dyck-Funk and Kason Moffitt

Most Dedicated Swimmer – Peyton LaFontaine and Declan Newton Most Promising Swimmer – Gabby Corey and Lachlan Rempel

Most Coachable Athlete – Daphne Dyck

Spirit Award – Savannah Moffitt

Sportsmans­hip Award – Drew Cuthbert

Learn to Swim – Jett Schafer

Victoria Andreas Purple Heart – Talyah Cuthbert

The following swimmers are the age group high points winners and runnerup for the 2022 season:

7&8 – Drew Cuthbert 169 points and Savannah Moffitt 81 points

9&10 – Saylor Cuthbert 163 points and Lincoln Moffitt 79 points

11&12 – Talyah Cuthbert 230 points and Kason Moffitt 60 points

13&14 – Declan Newton 119.5 points and Peyton LaFontaine 30 points 15-17 – Aryn Thibault 69 points

High points award overall winner and runner-up – Talyah Cuthbert 230 points and Drew Cuthbert 169 points

 ?? Photos by Matthew Liebenberg/Prairie Post ?? Staff Sgt. Evan Gordon presents the quarterly community policing report during a regular City council meeting, Oct. 17.
Photos by Matthew Liebenberg/Prairie Post Staff Sgt. Evan Gordon presents the quarterly community policing report during a regular City council meeting, Oct. 17.
 ?? ?? Kason Moffitt and Sophia Dyck-Funk received the Fighting Heart Award at the Swift Current ACT/UCT Stingrays awards night, Oct. 16. It was presented by coaches Jackie Powell (at left) and Joanna Ladouceur.
Kason Moffitt and Sophia Dyck-Funk received the Fighting Heart Award at the Swift Current ACT/UCT Stingrays awards night, Oct. 16. It was presented by coaches Jackie Powell (at left) and Joanna Ladouceur.
 ?? Photos submitted ?? Savannah Moffitt received the Spirit Award at the Swift Current ACT/UCT Stingrays awards night, Oct. 16. It was presented by coaches Jackie Powell (at left) and Joanna Ladouceur.
Photos submitted Savannah Moffitt received the Spirit Award at the Swift Current ACT/UCT Stingrays awards night, Oct. 16. It was presented by coaches Jackie Powell (at left) and Joanna Ladouceur.
 ?? ?? Gabby Corey received the Most Promising Swimmer Award at the Swift Current ACT/ UCT Stingrays awards night, Oct. 16. It was presented by coaches Jackie Powell (at left) and Joanna Ladouceur.
Gabby Corey received the Most Promising Swimmer Award at the Swift Current ACT/ UCT Stingrays awards night, Oct. 16. It was presented by coaches Jackie Powell (at left) and Joanna Ladouceur.
 ?? ?? Coach Jackie Powell presented the Most Dedicated Swimmer Award to Peyton LaFontaine and Declan Newton during the Swift Current ACT/UCT Stingrays awards night, Oct. 16.
Coach Jackie Powell presented the Most Dedicated Swimmer Award to Peyton LaFontaine and Declan Newton during the Swift Current ACT/UCT Stingrays awards night, Oct. 16.
 ?? ?? Talyah Cuthbert received the 2022 high points award at the Swift Current ACT/UCT Stingrays awards night, Oct. 16. Coach Jackie Powell presented the award.
Talyah Cuthbert received the 2022 high points award at the Swift Current ACT/UCT Stingrays awards night, Oct. 16. Coach Jackie Powell presented the award.
 ?? ?? Savannah Moffitt received the Spirit Award at the Swift Current ACT/UCT Stingrays awards night, Oct. 16. It was presented by coaches Jackie Powell (at left) and Joanna Ladouceur.
Savannah Moffitt received the Spirit Award at the Swift Current ACT/UCT Stingrays awards night, Oct. 16. It was presented by coaches Jackie Powell (at left) and Joanna Ladouceur.

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