Monday , 14 June 2021

Bonnyville Moves Towards Bringing in Drug Unit

Town Council votes to take steps towards assigning a general investigative service to Bonnyville

Following meetings with local RCMP representatives, the Town of Bonnyville is writing a letter to request that a general investigative service be assigned to the town to assist in drug relative crime. The unit could take over a year to be approved and possibly a couple of years before it is established in the Bonnyville area.

Assistant Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the Town of Bonnyville, Bill Rogers, explained to Council that he and Mayor Sobolewski, CAO Mark Power, met with S/Sgt Gandolfi, as well as, the RCMP area manager and the district officer to discuss the possibility of establishing a general investigative services in Bonnyville and what that might entail. “If a unit were established this would primarily provide plain clothed investigators and additional drug related investigations in the Bonnyville area.”

“The key issues, the RCMP advises us that if such a unit were to be assigned, are ideally you need to have three members assigned. This would typically consist of a corporal and a couple of constables. If this unit were to be formed, they could be mostly redeployed from the current roster.” Rogers explains there’s a cost associated with this, “it would be $156,000 per year per member. This is an estimate on their part subject possible to future change. Which is why they want a non-committing letter because these things take a while to organize and prices could change by the time it comes to fruition.”

The cost of this unit would fall mainly on the Town, explains Rogers, “they’re suggesting that on a three person team, $156,000 would be our cost for two members and they would allocate provincial resources to make up the third member. They are currently estimating $312,000 annually as the Town’s portion of funding, should we wish to go forward with it.” The RCMP has requested that the Town provide a non-biding letter asking for the call-up of resources for this purpose. “They are advising that it will take up to a year or longer,” Rogers says the deadline for requesting resources for this year has passed.

Town Council brought up concerns that the unit would not be only used within the town borders and stipulated that they would like to have discussions with neighbouring municipalities to see what sort of need they felt their communities had, and if such a need was present perhaps a more regionalized unit could be formed, with shared cost on all. Mayor of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski noted that the idea of cost-sharing if there’s a service share is “one of the things that we’ll be discussing not that it’s gone forward here.” The Town brought up with the RCMP members that they would like to have stats provided as to what drugs are in the area, which communities are they coming in from or going out to and the consequential crimes associated with the drugs. This will help display the need for the unit to service neighbouring communities. “Right now, it’s in its infancy, these are things we need to start to go forward with [the unit] particularly with the policy committee,” explains Mayor Sobolewski.

The Town voted in favour of drafting the letter with the condition that should the project be approved in the future Council will reserve the right to approve the project or not at that time.

About Jena Colbourne