Illegal drugs and vehicle traffic infractions remain the top concerns for County of Stettler council that are also top priorities for local police.
“Drugs will always be an issue,” said Reeve Earl Marshall during council’s discussion on policing concerns at its regular meeting April 14, when Stettler RCMP Sergeant Rowland Schmidt presented the annual police report.
To help curb impaired drivers, council also encouraged police to set up more road checks and more frequently.
Police were successful in taking a bite out of the drug trade in the region.
“We did interrupt some drug trafficking in the county and also just south of the county with Drumheller RCMP,” said Sergeant Schmidt.
As a way to make residents aware of the drug trade and activity, and how to help curtail it, Stettler RCMP will host a community forum on drug prevention on April 28 at Stettler Ramada Inn at 6:30 p.m.
An investigator from the RCMP drug section in Calgary will present information relating to the abuse of marijuana, cocaine and other illegal drugs.
To bolster rural policing, he suggested that county council consider extra funding to hire two officers, which he said could cost about $160,000 annually at $80,000 an officer.
“I will continue to request more rural officers for the County of Stettler,” said Sergeant Schmidt.
Citizens on Patrol, the association of residents and citizens watching in their communities, continues to be a valuable resource to help police curb crime.
“People still look out for their neighbours and other people, which helps us very much,” said Sergeant Schmidt.
“They are our eyes and ears.”
Thefts increased significantly in the region, particularly in the northwest and southwest areas, he said.
“That’s what concerns us,” said Sergeant Schmidt.
“Our goal is to make safe homes and safe communities.”
He is also concerned with the increased calls for threats and harassment, although the incidents of assault have not risen.
This summer, Stettler RCMP will join Bashaw RCMP to step up boat patrols on Buffalo Lake in response to the increase in drinking alcohol and other related criminal activity.