There soon will be more staff at the two biggest police departments in the area.
The M.D. of Bonnyville is setting aside funding to hire one additional support staff worker for Cold Lake and Bonnyville police detachments. This would allow officers to spend more time in the field.
Cold Lake RCMP Staff Sergeant Jeremie Landry, said after the detachment heard they were not going to be getting more police officers, they got creative.
“It was another way to be innovative so we could leverage other supports available to us at the detachment such as our support staff, so that they can provide additional services to our members so they can be more operational.”
The decision was made at the June 27 M.D. council meeting to budget $180,000 for the two hires. This gives the interim CAO, Roy Doonanco, the chance to hire before the next M.D. council meeting July 25.
“When we did our original crime forum in the fall we actually asked the RCMP what they felt would actually help fighting the problem,” said Reeve Greg Sawchuk. “Most recently they came forward with a couple administration spots they could use to free up members spending a whole bunch of time doing paperwork.”
Currently, the Cold Lake detachment has eight support staff. S/Sgt. Landry says this additional staff member will work with the general investigation section that looks into drug trafficking offenses, homicide, and aggravated assaults.
“They’re a very successful unit and have been over the years, especially within the past few years. But having administrative support provided to them will also free them up to do more of the great they’re already doing,” said S/Sgt. Landry.
Police work involves more paperwork than in years past. Now, the standard impaired driving investigation could entail 5-6 hours of paperwork.
“Everybody knows that paperwork has become a huge part of their game and there are certain parts of it that are able to be taken over by the administration staff. So that’s why for us it was an easy one,” said Sawchuk.
No official timeline has been given by the M.D. for when the support staff will be in place.