By Justin Seward
The Bows Island RCMP had a much quieter Christmas season this year for calls compared to past years.
“Hardly any calls, very quiet,” said Bow Island RCMP Staff Sgt. Neil Bailey.
“I didn’t know what to expect. I kind of thought maybe it would be a little quieter with COVID and all the restrictions- you really couldn’t do anything. You’re not allowed in social gatherings.”
Bailey says it was nice that there wasn’t the property crime offenses going on or many driving complaints.
“It’s nice when it’s quieter,” said Bailey.
“You feel like when it’s quieter that you must be doing a good job because if you’re getting less calls, it must be some of the hard work and visibility and being proactive. It must be paying off.”
With the quieter festive season in 2020, Bailey encourage his constables to do more on patrol and be visible in the community.
“Being proactive-like I always say-being out there and just being visible, that’s always the best police work anyhow,” said Bailey.
“If you see the police driving around, you’re less likely to commit traffic infractions or any type of crime because you see them.”
The Bow Island detachment had a great year, says Bailey.
“The partnerships that we have with other stakeholders like the property crimes unit out of ALERT (Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams), we’ve greatly reduced property crimes,” said Bailey.
The community has shown great support for the local RCMP.
“We have great support from our community,” said Bailey.
“Bow Island, the County of Forty Mile and Foremost-they’re very pro-police and have been very supportive- and have tipped us greatly in any changes that we’ve had to do with (the) different way the office is (ran). (And) a lot of things (are) online reporting now and knowing we have a lot of support and encouragement all along with them and that’s greatly appreciated.”
A few changes were made this past year for patrolling.
“Now it’s required, different PPE (personal protective equipment) and stuff like that. That’s probably the biggest change is making sure (you’re) cleaning everything very,very good,” he said.
“There was a lot more remote-style policing, being mostly in the police vehicles. That’s ultimately our goal- if anything positive out of this- is when you’re working remotely out of your car. You’re out, you’re visible (and) people see you.”
Community engagements became more difficult to attend.
“It’s nice to be involved in the community. Be it leading parades (and) attending different functions,” he said.
“But as a result of this pandemic there hasn’t been as many functions and things we can do with the youth. We miss that part of our policing.”