Elk Point RCMP look at more preventive measures

The Elk Point RCMP Detachment, Sergaent Terry Hyggen says the detachment is looking at more ways to reduce crime and be more preventative, rather than reactive in their policing. There are a few ways in which the Sergaent sees preventative measures could be implemented; including more presence in schools, increased probation & conditions checks, more use of Lakeland Rural Crime Watch, implementing a COPP (Citizens on Patrol Program) in the town, and setting up a satellite station in the Frog Lake/Fishing Lake area.

One of the major factors setting the detachment back, in terms of becoming more preventative is the sheer volume of calls. Between January 1st and October 31st, 2017, the members of the Elk Point Detachment fielded 2,843 calls, this is relatively high in comparison to the number of members at the detachment, explains Sgt. Hyggen, “it is extremely high, when you consider per member how many calls that is. We’ve had five constables for the duration of the year; instead of six that we normally have and two management team. We’ve been short two members for the entire year.”

School Liaison Appearances

“This has been in place, for some time. Our members are expected to make regular visits; as much as possible.” The last few months members have been very busy with calls, making it hard to be making those consistent appearances. “Our youth is one of our priorities.”

Serious Habitual Offenders

Monitoring the prolific offenders that are in the community is a priority for the detachment, says Sgt. Hyggen, “I want members checking on these conditions on a regular basis.” The idea is to check on persons who have conditions or probation orders to ensure they are not breaking these orders, “probation should have a role in this, as well. That being said, I don’t know how often probation is out in the Elk Point, Fishing Lake and Frog Lake areas.” In his experience, persons with conditions or probation orders are more likely to become repeat offenders if they are not being monitored, that’s where the Elk Point Detachment would come in. “Quite often, these people aren’t going to be prone to complying with their conditions.”

Between November 9th and November 12th, the Elk Point RCMP, with the Eastern District RCMP, did a mass check and executed 31 warrants; which resulted in 18 new charges.

Citizen Driven Programs

Sgt. Hyggen would like to see more residents involved in the Lakeland Rural Crime Watch, “they are looking at methods to disperse their information more freely and more efficiently; through an email distribution system of some sort.” Once this is inline, Sgt. Hyggen anticipates it’ll be a great tool in helping reduce crime.

The Lakeland Rural Crime Watch is meeting tonight (November 16th) at the Elk Point Elementary School, at 7:00 pm. Bettering communication within the membership will be one of the main topics. The meeting is open to the public, “this is a great opportunity. I would like to see every single person in the County of St. Paul, involved in this initiative. If every one is able to receive and distribute information instantaneously; then we’ve got a lot of eyes and hears out there.”

It’s impossible for the RCMP to be on every county road; however they are able to attend fairly quickly when they are informed of crimes or suspicious activity.

Citizens on Patrol Program

Sgt. Hyggen would like to see this program reinstated in the town, “we’re going to need volunteers and someone to manage the program.” There could be grants available to help with the Citizens on Patrol Program. If anyone is interested in taking the lead on the program, you can contact S/Sgt. Hyggen at 780-724-3964 or the Town of Elk Point Councillor Dwayne Yaremkevich. “We’re on board to work along side COPPs,” should the program get going there would be a RCMP member assigned as the liaison member.

Satellite Station in Frog Lake

Sgt. Terry Hyggen met with Frog Lake Chief & Council on October 31st to discuss ways to help deter crime and curb the issues in Frog Lake and area. “Specially, they would like to see additional resources in [Frog Lake] and indicated that they may be extra funding out there for that, in the spring,” the discussion of a satellite detachment came up, “I would like to see a satellite station there. Whether it be Frog Lake, Fishing Lake or in between. Somewhere in that area, so that members do not need to fly out to that area and come back. That kind of reactive police is what I would like to get away from.”

Sgt. Hyggen explains that if the satellite station is to be successful the members would need an office to work at, “if I can get some members assigned specifically out there [it would help in reducing crime].” Frog Lake has indicated they would like to explore this option further, confirms the Sergaent. There is a meeting scheduled for November 20th with Chief and Council, Sgt. Hyggen and Alberta Justice.