Cold Lake RCMP Detachment Commander S/Sgt. J.J.R. (Jeremie) Landry and Operations NCO Ryan Howrish were at the December 12, 2017 City of Cold Lake Regular Council Meeting to update Council on significant events and statistics that occurred between January 1, 2017 to November 30, 2017.
Commander S/Sgt. J.J.R. Landry stated that 64.1% of all calls for service occurred within the City of Cold Lake. 22.7% occurred within the M.D. of Bonnyville. Commander S/Sgt. J.J.R. Landry said, “Calls for service in the City of Cold Lake have remained quite stable for the past four years. This year, the file count is busier then 2015 and 2016, but not quite as busy as 2013. Currently, the detachment has had 8673 calls this year.” Between 2014 and 2017, there were small fluctuations in file generation by zone (from 3% to 4%) occurring within Elizabeth Métis Settlement. The M.D. of Bonnyville has seen the most change over the past four years from 18% of files generated by zone in 2014 to 23% in 2017.
Currently the Cold Lake Detachment has 16 municipal positions and 9 provincial positions (not including the one position on Elizabeth Métis Settlement and the two positions currently unstaffed at Cold Lake First Nations). The Cold Lake detachment offers 24-hour policing with 3 to 4 municipal officers working on a given shift, and 2 to 3 provincial resources working on a shift. They work under what’s called a Post Policing Concept, which is a cooperative policing agreement between municipal and rural resources. Commander S/Sgt. J.J.R. Landry explained further. “From my perspective, I believe the city is getting a better service because of this agreement. Our detachment is in the city and the resources tend to stay within the city unless they are called to the rural area.” Commander S/Sgt. J.J.R. Landry also shared statistics on overtime budgets for within the City of Cold Lake and for their rural contract. He anticipated the overtime budgets for both would come in less than in the past number of years.
City of Cold Lake Councillor Bob Buckle asked the RCMP officers about detachment clearance rates. Commander S/Sgt. J.J.R. Landry said the City of Cold Lake comes in close to or above average when compared to statistics for the province. “The national average for recovering stolen vehicles is 72%. We recover 82%. For January to November, the City of Cold Lake’s clearance rate for person crimes was 80%. The provincial average from last year is 83%. The detachment average is 84%. For property crime in 2017, the City of Cold Lake average is a 32% clearance rate. The provincial average is 28%, and the detachment average is 31%. And for other Criminal Code occurrences, the City of Cold Lake clearance rate is 69%, the provincial average from last year was 69%, and the detachment as a whole is 66%.”
Newly elected City of Cold Lake Councillor Kirk Soroka applauded the detachment’s successes. He had questions about where repeat offenders were coming from, and why. Commander S/Sgt. J.J.R. Landry answered, “We are seeing our repeat offenders coming from all four zones (City of Cold Lake, MD of Bonnyville, Métis Elizabeth Settlement and Cold Lake First Nations). Crimes involving drugs and organized crime we are seeing coming from transient people. These individuals are coming to Cold Lake and staying in Cold Lake for the purposes of profiting off their criminal activities. They have come from Edmonton, Regina, and B.C.”
Councillor Soroka also asked why the Cold Lake First Nations positions weren’t being staffed. Commander S/Sgt. J.J.R. Landry answered, “The Elizabeth Métis Settlement has been staffed for a long time. The Cold Lake First Nations positions have not been staffed officially since 2014. Prior to that, the Provincial government mandated Reserves who had casinos to fund the RCMP positions. The Provincial government changed that and no longer required these communities to fund these positions. So, they haven’t been official paid for since then although we’ve had the bodies in Cold Lake. There was an initial agreement with the Cold Lake First Nations to fund these two positions; there was a Band Council decision approving that when I got here in 2015 and it was approved in 2016, but then a new election occurred, and the new Chief and Council rescinded that Band Council resolution in the fall of 2016 to no longer fund those positions. So, we froze the positions. But the Cold Lake First Nations have recently signed a request for a CTA position (Community Tripartite Agreement) between the Federal and Provincial government and the First Nations so the funding is a 52-48 split, and the First Nations would have to provide a facility for us to work out of. Those are coming up for renewal April 1 of 2018. It hasn’t been decided yet if they get the CTA. If they do, the positions will be reactivated”.
At the presentation, Commander S/Sgt. J.J.R. Landry made an announcement about the new PDS position (Police Dog Services) that will be happening at the detachment next year. “The transfer will be cut in January of 2018. We anticipate the officer being here in March of 2018. His vehicle is being assembled now. Currently, he is a handler in Kamloops.”
City of Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland had a question about the rural crime forum that happened in the M.D. of Bonnyville recently, and if it was worth having something similar in Cold Lake in the new year for January or February. NCO Ryan Howrish answered, “I think it would be positive and valuable. The stats are there and they don’t lie.”