Drug issue in the spotlight at RCMP Town Hall
The topic of drugs was the central issue at the Swift Current Municipal RCMP’S Town Hall meeting on November 8.
The detachment’s top priority in 2018, set in consultation with Swift Current City Council, is to prevent and reduce the threat and impact of serious and organized crime related to drug trafficking. This focus is wide reaching across the community according to Staff Sergeant Gary Hodges.
“When we look at drugs and organized crime as our priority, a lot of people when they hear that they think, ok the police are after people that are trafficking in drugs, people that are in possession of drugs, but it’s far more outreaching,” Staff Sgt. Hodges explained. “Its like the trunk of the tree. And then you look at the branches that go out, and the impacts that drugs can have within your community on other things such as thefts. People will steal to support their drug habits. Frauds. People will develop credit cards that are fraudulent in order to again obtain money to support their drug habit.”
“So when we say we’re focussing on drugs, that’s the root cause of a lot of other crime within the community. So if we minimize that drug abuse, we will see an impact on minimizing other crimes within the community.”
He agreed that the scope of the drug problem in the community has occurred as a combination of more emphasis from the RCMP and an increase of drugs in the community.
“I think we’ve seen an increase in some of the harder drugs, some of the opiates within the community. And that’s just a reflection of society I think as a whole all around. We’re seeing that influx of the opiates and the harder drugs, and when you see that you see more of the effects of drugs as opposed to someone who’s maybe smoking marijuana or cannabis.”
“We have seen those harder drugs come into the community and we’ve seen the impacts of them in the last two or three years.”
Staff Sgt. Hodges noted in his presentation that the Swift Current City RCMP have made a presentation to Swift Current City Council regarding the hiring of two additional RCMP officers who would solely be tasked with handling drug cases.
“If council does deem the need for more officers in the community, they definitely would be focussed on that area.”
With the City Detachment responding to 7,663 calls for service between April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, they have been simultaneously tasked with longer term drug investigations. This workload is challenging because of the extremely time consuming and labour intensive work spent on drug files.
“They don’t get solved overnight for the most part. They take a lot of periphery work and background, developing information. We rely on the community for a lot of that information to be successful in drug enforcement,” Staff Sgt. Hodges said during the town hall.
“When it comes to drugs, its a culture almost of its own within a community. Once its embedded in a community like it is here, it’s very difficult to eliminate it. It’s next to impossible. So we try and curb it as much as we can. And to do that we need people in the community to help us. That’s the only way we can do it is for the community to take ownership and help us providing that information that we need for these investigations.”
Staff Sergeant Gary Hodges shared details of local policing priorities at the RCMP Town Hall meeting on November 8 .