Domestic violence calls seeing a significant increase, however.
Property crime in the form of break and enters and theft of motor vehicles is down significantly in the Elk Point area over the last year according to Sgt. David Henry in his presentation to St. Paul County Council on Feb. 9.
“I’m not going to diminish the ones that have had their place broken into. But [break and enters have] dropped 43 per cent from this time and last year, which is significant. My members are doing more patrols, we’re doing more out there. We are missing some, of course, because they watch and they know who we are, but we are making the efforts,” said Henry.
He said theft of motor vehicles is also down 20 per cent, and they’ve had half as many flight from police as compared to last year.
“That’s due to the hard work of the members and putting our clientele behind bars so that they can’t be out here doing that. So the people that make some of the wrong choices are hopefully getting some help and some good counseling within the system that we have,” said Henry.
He noted an area of concern for their detachment has been the significant increase in domestic violence calls since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a trend that has been observed elsewhere in the Lakeland as well.
Going forward, Henry noted the Elk Point detachment has made some staffing changes including the addition of three members: one dedicated to Frog Lake and two for the County of St. Paul.
“So we’ll have two corporals that’ll be on the road giving guidance to the members. We do have a very junior detachment, I’m just losing my two most senior members. Both of them are being transferred to Central Alberta,” said Henry.
Henry also expects to add another civilian administrative position in April to focus on assembling the court packages the RCMP must provide to the crown prosecution office in order for them to proceed with a trial. He noted depending on the severity of the charge, a court package could take anywhere from four to more than 20 hours to assemble.
Reeve Steve Upham was positive in his comments about the work being done by the RCMP in Elk Point.
“The reports that have come down online through social media, I can see your detachment is having a lot of positive effects and is a positive force in the area. So that’s great to see. We’re not a hundred percent there yet. But we’re making some big strides, which is extremely good and I’m very happy to see that,” said Upham.
Div. 1 Coun. Darrell Younghans said both Henry and Sgt. James Morton ought to be commended for the work being done.
“The residents down here have seen a very marked difference in what’s going on with occurrences. People are feeling a lot more at ease than they did prior to the Henry years,” said Younghans.
Henry thanked council for the praise, but said it has taken a lot of work and attributed much of their success to the support of their communities, including the Town of Elk Point, Frog Lake First Nation, and Fishing Lake Metis Settlement.
“The Chief and Council have been extremely positive here, which has really enabled my officers to do the work we need to do,” said Henry.
He specifically cited the positive impact of Band Council Resolutions which allows for police to have the backing of the community to remove particular offenders.