The Bonnyville RCMP’s 2021 Community Engagement initiative was developed to provide a forum where residents could bring forth policing concerns or comments to the Detachment Commander and have them published along with the corresponding responses and/or action plans to address the issues, if applicable.
This initiative was open to submission from November 23, and Tuesday, December 7 to all residents from the Town of Bonnyville, MD of Bonnyville, Village of Glendon, Fort Kent, La Corey, Iron River, Therien, and Kehewin Cree Nation.
The couple responses submitted got responses from S/Sgt. Sarah Parke below as well as additional information provided by the S/Sgt:
Request to have an RCMP member stationed in the Village of Glendon.
The RCMP deploys its resources based on a number of factors, including calls for service (number and crime type), crime severity index, and population, to name a few. Bonnyville Detachment conducts frequent patrols to Glendon and is aware of recent property crime activity, as well as the prolific offender(s) in the area. The Detachment is also supported by the District’s Crime Reduction Unit, based out of St. Paul, and a regional Crime Reduction Unit that patrols the MD of Bonnyville and both units frequently patrol Glendon, as well as other communities in the Lakeland Region.
Currently, while persons’ crimes are up from 8 reported incidents this time last year to 16 reported this year, property crime is down from 28 reported this time last year, to 22 for this year in Glendon. Aside from the increase in in-person crimes, all other reported crime is down in Glendon.
Bonnyville Detachment will continue to proactively patrol Glendon and encourage all community members to report all crimes to the RCMP. Crimes in Glendon that are not reported do not reflect the true nature of what is happening in Glendon and thus affect how the RCMP deploys its resources.
Lack of apparent enforcement of the Public Health Orders at rallies and protests throughout the Lakeland.
We have seen a number of protests, rallies, and marches occurring in response to government measures where participants are not adhering to social distancing or other health orders. The RCMP response to these events must balance civil liberties and public health. Although participants at an event may be subject to a fine, the RCMP are focusing on the organizers of
Bonnyville Community Engagement 2021
these events and those that are actively promoting non-compliance to the Public Health Orders. The primary responsibility of the RCMP is to educate and seek their voluntary compliance with that individual or group. In taking this approach first, the RCMP is able to inform the individual of the specifics of the Order and explain the importance of voluntary compliance, and the impact that following these orders will have in reducing the spread of the virus. Additionally, unless there is a need for police intervention to keep the peace or tend to a Criminal matter taking place at one of these events, it is the Public Health Inspectors under Alberta Health Services guidance who typically engage with violators and issue any applicable fines.
“I would like to see the RCMP members engaging more frequently with the Non-profits in the community. I understand the constant pressure and lack of members but it would be more helpful if the RCMP were seen as part of the community and not ‘in but separate’ from the community. Maybe more partnerships with non-profits on objectives that align with both organizations.”
I joined the RCMP over 20 years ago and while catching criminals and enforcing the law were and are the main components of being a police officer, I quickly learned that Community Policing was the main pillar of how the RCMP operates on the day today. The RCMP participates in numerous community events across the country, and while I can’t speak to all of them, I can speak to some of the initiatives and programs that the members of the Bonnyville RCMP are involved in. Depending on our work schedules, some members are on shift while others volunteer their own time to participate in these events. We have helped serve Thanksgiving & Christmas Dinners put on by the Bonnyville Friendship Centre, we participate in Victim Services’ annual Charity Checkstop during the Holiday season to help raise toys & food for members of our community, we hold an annual Pack the Police Car where we collect food donations for our local food banks (we just collected over 4200 lbs of food earlier this month during this initiative), we run an annual Halloween Safety Program for the youth of our community which this past year saw over 300 kids come through our Detachment parking lot, we organize an annual Bike Rodeo for local youth, we have held Cop Card Contests, we attend community functions in our red serge uniforms such as Remembrance Day ceremonies and Canada Day parades. You will also find RCMP members in our local schools volunteering to assist with initiatives such as breakfast programs, flipping pancakes, running in the annual Colour Run, putting on presentations just to name a few.
“More social network communication would be appreciated, I know there are many things you can’t say but not saying anything is worse plus seeing into what the RCMP is up to would help people humanize your members.”
Bonnyville Community Engagement 2021
The Alberta RCMP has an active presence on Facebook (@RCMPinAlberta), Twitter (@RCMPAlberta), and Instagram (@rcmpalbertagrc). We are constantly looking for ways to be innovative on these platforms and potentially grow to include other social networking platforms. On our social media feeds you will find a number of posts on a variety of topics. One of our campaigns, called #CommunityMembers, highlights individual officers in a number of detachments across the province. They portray our members in half uniform and half in everyday clothing. These posts are meant to give our followers a better idea of who the individuals are behind the uniform. We also frequently share posts of members out in the communities we serve, visiting schools, attending local events, or organizing safety initiatives. Posts also spotlight various units such as Police Dog Services, the Explosive Disposal Unit, Serious Crimes Branch, Major Crimes Unit, etc. so that the public can understand some of the more nuanced units that make up the Alberta RCMP.
Our social media channels also share operational content. This includes highlighting large seizures of firearms, stolen property, or drugs. We share missing and wanted individuals to our channels to raise public awareness. Social media is a powerful tool and it is also used as a means to ask the public for help if we are unable to identify offenders. Further, we share messaging on road safety, crime prevention, fraud detection and highlight potential crime trends that the public should be aware of.
In addition to the above content, we also share public safety awareness messaging on Twitter and Facebook. This alerts individuals in affected areas to the fact that there is an increased police presence nearby. It also provides information to individuals on whether there is a need to shelter in place for safety purposes. To maintain investigational integrity and for the safety of the public and our officers, we share only that which is necessary.
A common topic of conversation over the last year or so has been how the laws have changed surrounding Impaired Driving. Here’s some information on that topic:
On December 18th, 2018, Bill C-46 became law in Canada and it included Mandatory Alcohol Screening, whereby police officers can demand that any lawfully-stopped driver provide a preliminary breath sample to test for alcohol without reasonable suspicion that the driver has alcohol in their body.
On December 1st, 2020, Bill 21 became law in Alberta and included changes to the Immediate Roadside Sanctions Program. The new Immediate Roadside Sanctions (IRS) Program provides a comprehensive array of serious, immediate, and escalating consequences for impaired drivers— a system that has been proven to reduce impaired driving significantly in other jurisdictions. Consequences for drivers now include driver’s license suspensions, new fines, vehicle seizures, mandatory education, and participation in the Ignition Interlock Program (IIP).
Bonnyville Community Engagement 2021
Increased impaired driving consequences under the new IRS Program include: Driver’s license suspensions of 15 months for a first offense, longer for repeat offenders; First offense fines of $1,000, with increasing fines for repeat offenders;
Vehicle seizure of 30 days;
Mandatory education programs for offenders;
Drivers can pay for the IIP after 90 days of suspension with extended periods of IIP for repeat offenders, and depending on the circumstances, criminal code charges can still be laid by the police officer.
Please, if you drink, don’t drive. Plan ahead to have a safe ride home. In the month of October 2021, Alberta RCMP removed 698 impaired drivers from Alberta roadways! That’s almost one impaired driver per hour!
I would like to thank those who took the time to write in and to those who share their comments & feedback with the RCMP in other ways throughout the year. I find our community to be overall very pro-police and all the members and staff at the Bonnyville RCMP truly appreciate the encouragement and support we get from community members on a regular basis.