Jasper RCMP provide quarterly update
November 19, 2021 By Canadian Press / Local Journalism Initiative
Nov. 17, 2021, Jasper, Alta. – At municipal council’s committee of the whole on Nov. 9, Jasper RCMP gave the new and returning members the quarterly update. During this quarter from July to September, Jasper RCMP had three main priorities they wanted to focus on.
“As part of maintaining engagement with the Albertans we serve, this quarterly report reinforces our commitment to communicate the work we do to ensure community safety,” said Sgt. Rick Bidaisee, Jasper RCMP detachment commander.
“This reporting along with your valued feedback will allow us to assess and enhance our policing service to ensure we are meeting your needs on an ongoing basis.”
Priority one was to increase education and enforcement to reduce the number of driving complaints on local roadways, priority two was to reduce local mischief in the area and priority three was community engagement.
Throughout the quarter, the unit continued to experience personal shortages, resulting in a reactionary police model instead of a proactive approach. The unit objectives have been challenged on several fronts, as calls for service predominate over proactive traffic enforcement.
As well as assisting with overtime shift coverage, Edson ITU members conducted their unit mandates on Highway 16 and Highway 93.
Due to motor vehicle collisions, there were two road deaths in the community this quarter.
Bidaisee said the general public and the community would like to see proactive police patrols on the local roads.
The detachment commander still receives phone calls and impromptu conversations on his days off about increased policing visibility. The community is aware of the unit personnel changes and is vocal about their concerns.
As of September 2021, the unit received six calls for service pertaining to mischief. There is also a noticeable reduction in graffiti mischief in the municipal area and surrounding Jasper National Park (JNP). The same can be attributed to a reduction of visitors toward the end of the quarter.
As a result of increased visitation, the first influx of graffiti related mischief may be attributed to people wanting to tag areas outside of their normal routines and geographical locations.
Together with the unit, the municipality is working to remove some of the graffiti.
Additionally, the Parks Canada JNP law enforcement unit is responsible for tracking down mischief, including graffiti that affects Parks Canada signage and topography. Community awareness has also been key in reducing mischief-related calls to Parks Canada.
Various emergency services partners and the community continue to provide full support to the jasper detachment.
Regularly, the detachment commander deals with questions, concerns, and feedback regarding staffing levels, shift scheduling, work-life balance and police visibility.
This expectation is placed on a police force designed for a community with fewer than five thousand residents, but policing a heavily visited national park with thousands of visitors each day.
Parks Canada, the municipality, as well as a variety of agencies are fully aware of the deficiencies of having such a small unit policing the community. Compounded with vacancies and a pandemic environment, the unit faces high demands.
The unit also investigated four tragic death investigations during the quarter. These investigations are logically complicated, demanding and require the appropriate resources and detailed investigational avenues.
Community engagement in COVID-19 continued in the quarter based on calls for service and evolving regulations.
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