Sunday , 1 August 2021

Landry reflects on his time in Cold Lake

Staff Sergeant Jeremie Landry said goodbye to his posting in Cold Lake on Friday after over three years, calling it, “the best posting yet”.

Landry is headed to the Eastern Alberta District Office, located in St. Paul to take on the role of Operations Officer. Landry will be third in command, overseeing 27 RCMP detachments in eastern Alberta.

“Your goal is to always leave the community better than it was,” stated Landry on his second last day in Cold Lake. And that he has.

K9 Unit

A major accomplishment for him would be the approval and implementation of the police dog; Harp. Conversations on bringing in a police dog started shortly after his posting, with approval coming down in July of 2017. Training took nearly a year, but Harp is now one in place and aiding in reducing crime.

Harp has seen over 100 calls since May, said Landry. “Offender apprehension rates have increased significantly,” Landry estimated an increase in apprehension from 10 percent to 75 percent in the Cold Lake area.

Crime Reduction

Overall, crime has dropped in 2018 by 7.8 percent, with the most significant drop in the rural areas. The Municipal District (MD) of Bonnyville  has seen a drop of 31.3 percent. Elizabeth Métis Settlement has also seen a large decrease; 29.9 percent. There was one increased area, Cold Lake First Nations (increase 38 percent).

Nonetheless, Landry attributes the overall drop in crime to ongoing, long-term efforts of the Detachment and surrounding communities. Coupling that with a focus on drug enforcement has seen prolific offenders being removed from the streets.

“After I arrived we changed the mandate of the General Investigation Section (GIS) to be focused on drugs and organized crime. Drugs was an still is fueling the vast majority of our crime. Whether it be people committing offenses under the influence of drugs or committing offenses to get money to buy drugs.”

As a result of this focused effort, the Cold Lake Detachment has laid over 90 charges for drug trafficking and over 50 years of jail sentences have been handed down for schedule 1 substances; cocaine, crack-cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl.

“We used intelligence based leads to identify and focus on the small percentage of people who are reeking the most havoc on our community. In doing so, we have seen a significant difference by getting those individuals off the streets.”

Inside the detachment and in the community

Under Landry’s watch the detachment grow its administration positions, adding a Watch Clerk and soon a ninth support staff member. This member will be able to alleviate administration duties from the GIS and Police Dog units, allowing for RCMP members to focus on crime reduction.

One of his biggest goals was to maintain positive relationships with the communities in the detachment area and the communities’ leadership. Have open and positive relationships with City Council, MD Council, as well as indigenous communities; Cold Lake First Nations & Elizabeth Métis Settlement leaders.

“I’ve prided in developing and building those relationships because we have to work together when it comes to policing. It can’t be done by just the police, it has to be a community-wide effort.”

Another area Landry is proud of is communication with the community. Under his leadership there were multiple open houses in all the area communities to help inform the public of the RCMP’s efforts and hear out any concerns or feedback.

Landry also hosts weekly briefings with the local media. “I’m a firm believer that the public needs to know what’s going on in their community. Whether it’s good or bad, people have a right to know. I’ve prided myself in informing the public as much as possible.”

It’s not just about policing, Landry has made a significant impact on the community. Three years ago, he started a RCMP vs Fire Charity Hockey Game. The game, held each April, has grown to raise over $55,000 for Cold Lake Victim Services. Landry assures us that he will return for the 2019 game in April.

Ready for a new adventure

“I would like to thank the community for the over three years of support and thank the four Council’s for their support. Of my last seven postings, Cold Lake is the best. The staff and support staff at the detachment are second to none.” Landry says he is ready to embark on his new journey at the Eastern Alberta District Office.

About Jena Colbourne