Plans for adding two RCMP members in Cranbrook are in the works, following a plea from municipal officials to provincial and federal levels of government for additional policing resources.
S/Sgt. Barry Graham told Cranbrook city council during a meeting on Monday evening that he has gotten the ‘green light’ from Ottawa to pursue the additional staffing, which is expected to join the detachment in the coming months.
“Right now, I spoke to our staffing people today and we are close to having the people named to come here for those two positions, so that’s a bonus,” said S/Sgt. Graham. “The only thing that appears to be slowing us down is there’s so much competition, we’re trying to find the best fit for here, so that’ll speak well for the members that come in.”
The increase in staffing comes at a challenging time, as the RCMP’s training centre, known as Depot near Regina, was temporarily closed during much of the pandemic, according to S/Sgt. Graham.
The local RCMP detachment is launching an joint enforcement campaign with the city’s Bylaw Services and volunteers with Citizens on Patrol to track and report incidents and unusual activity in the city, the downtown core and along Highway 3.
Police will be conducting more patrols in the summer months and plan to make full use of e-bikes provided by the city and two dedicated members to increase the RCMP’s visibility in the community.
S/Sgt. Graham urged individuals and businesses to report any suspicious incidents — no matter how trivial — so that police can track trends in criminal activity.
“We may have a member right there that may be able to step in or we may have another investigation that we can tie it together with a report,” said S/Sgt. Graham.
Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt echoed the importance of reporting criminal activity to police.
“Council has been proactive in dealing with this issue. Working closely with the RCMP and our local business owners, we hope to reduce this problem,” said Mayor Pratt, in a news release. “As Staff Sergeant Graham said, it is important for the business owners and the residents to report any suspicious activity, so they are aware of it. Safety of our community is a definite priority for this council and our city staff.”
In addition to reporting criminal activity to the RCMP, the city noted the importance of reporting bylaw infractions to the city’s bylaw services.
“Our Bylaw Services team is full support of the efforts of our local RCMP around crime and theft reduction,” said Paul Heywood, Manager of Building and Bylaw Services. “We will continue to ensure that all individuals comply with our City bylaws, and invite businesses and concerned citizens to call 311, or bylaw services directly at 1-250-489-0263 to report a bylaw infraction or concern. We are here to support businesses throughout the city, so that they can continue to operate without hindrance or loss.”
Funding for the two new RCMP staff, along with the creation of a civilian watch clerk position, was approved through the city’s budgeting process earlier this year.
“The civilian watch clerk position will be an integral part of our team, allowing our uniformed police officers to spend more of their shift on the road conducting proactive patrols of area hot spots,” said S/Sgt. Graham, in a news release. “This enhanced mobility will help expedite our response to calls for service which will result in more successful investigations. The additional visibility will help deter illegal activities and provide more comfort to our communities who are understandably concerned with the issues we all face.”