RCMP GIS Unit receives funding from Town & MD of Bonnyville
A new RCMP unit that will specialize in long-term investigations, such as drug and theft rings, will soon be operating in Bonnyville. The Town and Municipal District (MD) of Bonnyville announced Tuesday evening that they will jointly fund the operation, along with the Province. The unit will provide three constables dedicated to serious crime, explains S/Sgt of the Bonnyville Detachment, Luis Gandolfi.
S/Sgt Gandolfi explains the General Investigations Section or GIS handles serious crime, “The GIS unit recently approved by the Town and MD will improve our ability to respond to serious crimes including organized crime, drug interdiction, and serious person’s crimes. This unit will enhance public safety in the community and we’re looking to getting underway as soon as possible.”
Reeve for the MD of Bonnyville, Ed Rondeau says he is pleased with that by working together, the Town, MD and Province will be able to fund the new unit. “Together we have agreed to go into a GIS, crime investigation unit, away from the everyday policing. This is for drugs, thefts, murders, serious crime that happens in the Bonnyville region,” Reeve Rondeau says the unit will cover territory from Ardmore, west to near St. Paul. Before the unit gets underway, the Reeve says there are plans to speak with the similar unit operating in Cold Lake RCMP territory to ensure that there are no boundaries, “crime has no boundaries.”
“Next week, we plan to have a discussion with Cold Lake,” says Mayor of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski, “so we can make sure that there are no boundaries.” The Mayor says the RCMP Detachments already work together to ensure that there are no boundaries, this would simply be a starter conversation to a long relationship. “We really want to drive home the point, that the communities in this region are absolutely serious about stopping the incidents of drug, theft, and related crime that’s happening in our region. I don’t think [the GIS Unit] will ever be short of files.”
“We are looking at hiring three constables,” the Reeve explains these would be plain clothed investigators, “the MD would supply one, the Town would supply another and the Province would supply the third. I would say this would be a minimum of three years; but I believe this will be an ongoing effort. I can see nothing but good coming out of this.”
The Mayor says the Town is excited that a funding arrangement has been made, “a lot of really good discussion (between the RCMP, Town and MD), it was basically overwhelming that this unit was going to happen.” Funding from the Town was provided in part by the Intermunicipal Cooperation Partnership (ICMP) between the Town and MD, of which Sobolewski says the Town is very grateful. “I want to thank the MD because without their support, this unit would not be happening.” He further thanks Town Council, “without Council’s foresight and dedication. This is coming at a municipal cost, but it is very important and I appreciate and thank Town Council.”
The unit is needed, explains Rondeau, because of high activity, “these constables will be dedicated to [the GIS Unit]. They’re not going to be trying to do this in their spare time. This will be full time for them.
“We’re really looking forward to how this pans out,” Rondeau says from speaking with S/Sgt Gandolfi it appears as though the unit could be running within a year, “he doesn’t think there will be any problems getting the staff on board.”