By Anna Smith
Part of regular quarterly check-ins with the County, the Redcliff RCMP gave their first Enhanced Officer Report of the year at the May 2 Cypress County Council Meeting.
Sgt. Michael Courty, detachment commander with the Redcliff Detachment, attended to first highlight upcoming developments in how calls for emergency services may be changing in the next few years.
“One of the big things that they wanted us to kind of bring up during these meetings where our operational communication center is, is the kind of the backup for the 911 system that’s available for the province,” said Courty. “If you call 911 here in the county, it goes to Medicine Hat first, if you give your address in the county, then it gets, for our purposes, it gets sent to Red Deer to our Southern Alberta Dispatch Center. However, they wanted us to let you know that they are doing several enhancements to improve technology in our communication centers.”
Real Time 911 texts are coming, said Courty, likely in the spring of next year, and currently, they are experimenting with the possibility of video calls, though some of the programming and logistical errors are still being worked out.
“They’re improving their technology for GPS locations and things like that. I know now technology’s ramping up so much that your iPhone can call anyone for you if it thinks you’re in a crash,” said Courty. “So things like that, though we’re finding that on the ski hills where people are falling because of a crash, they’re not injured, but 911 is being called so we’ve got to be careful with that.”
The detachment recently went through a course on radar and speed enforcement training, to brush up for some newer members who had not received the training largely due to COVID over the previous few years. Courty added that he also attends meetings with the South Eastern Alberta Traffic Safety Committee and Rural Crime Watch. Courty is still working on
establishing the Citizens’ Advisory Committee after a decline in membership during the
Overall, this past year has held steady for the number of calls received by the detachment which is a change from a slow decline that had started in 2018. It’s suspected that the pandemic may have dampened the number of calls, and there should be a regular year to compare against by the end of 2023.
The detachment has seen an increase in property crimes. While it’s not what they receive the most calls about, noted Courty, it is what has some of the greatest impact and as such has their attention to try to improve the numbers.
“With regards to the top 10 file types and workload that our members are dealing with in the rural areas, property damage, reportable collisions, that’s the biggest thing that we’re getting out to other moving traffic violations,” said Courty. “And the other one, it drops down drastically from like 10 and 9 per cent to five per cent would be animal type calls, or 911 hang ups. And then it keeps going down from there, the same thing where if we go by count only then there’s traffic violations out there.”
The RCMP is anticipating a busier summer now that the weather is improving, and Courty is looking into solutions with ongoing recruiting issues.
“And I know we’re not alone in that every police service in the country and the RCMP itself is having a difficult time recruiting and getting members out there on the road. So hopefully we can improve that going forward,” said Courty.