M.D. to push new provincial government for tougher sentencing on repeat offenders

S/S Scott Buchanan, left, Sgt. Howrish, middle, of Cold Lake RCMP, and Bonnyville S/S Sarah Parke present their year-end stats to M.D. council Wednesday.

The M.D. of Bonnyville council said they will advocate for tougher sentencing for criminals after the provincial election this week.

The push comes after Cold Lake and Bonnyville RCMP detachments presented their 2018 stats to the M.D. council last Wednesday and the impression to council that it’s a small number of consistent offenders who are doing a bulk of the crimes.

“The bulk of the problem is the prolific offenders, and it comes back to the RCMP are doing the job, yet we’re being let down on the upper end, the justice system,” said Reeve Greg Sawchuk.

“The judges are still getting these folks to go with a slap on the wrist. Folks are really, really tired of it. We’re going to continue to push. We’re going to have a new provincial government in a few days and at that point in time, we’ll be reaching out again advocating for tougher sentencing. Let’s get rid of this revolving door.”

Councillor Dana Swigart asked S/S Scott Buchanan and S/S Sarah Parke multiple times if there was anything they could do about the catch and release system.

They said all they could do is report back to their higher-ups what they’re seeing on the ground.

Reeve Sawchuk admitted there are other factors that would have to happen in connection with an overhaul of the justice system.

“The workload out of St. Paul is huge. I think it’s three times the amount they have to deal with in the city. As soon as you load work on people you get burn out,” he said.

“It’s a combination of increasing the number of crown prosecutors and perhaps looking at their pay as well. Are they being reasonably compensated for the work they do? Let’s bring these folks into the courtroom quick and get the job done.”

Cold Lake and Bonnyville detachments both saw a tiny dip in total case files in 2018.

Both detachments saw multiple transfers and staffing issues during the 2018 year.

The Bonnyville GIS unit continues to focus on the drug trade in the area. In drug-related crimes, they seized over $100,000 in approximate street value of drugs, including over 500 grams of methamphetamine and just under 300 grams of MDMA.

Bonnyville detachment’s priorities for 2019-20 did not change from the previous year.

They will continue to reduce substance abuse, improve traffic safety, focus on crimes of habitual offenders, improve community relations, and ensure employee wellness.

Bonnyville RCMP 2018 Year End Report (1)

Bonnyville RCMP 2018 Year End Report (2)