Man sent back to jail after only few free hours

Monday wasn’t a good day for 66-year-old William Baird, who found himself heading back to the Red Deer remand centre

Monday wasn’t a good day for 66-year-old William Baird, who found himself heading back to the Red Deer remand centre after spending only about four hours free after completing a 10-day sentence.

The 10-day sentence was earned after Baird pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of a firearm for dangerous purpose, a charge stemming from an April 26 call to 911 by a Byemoor resident.

According to the complainant, Baird was drunk and heading to Big Valley with a case of beer and a loaded .22 calibre shotgun. While Baird was distracted, the complainant stole the firearm, and police arrived a short time later to detain Baird.

Baird will appear in provincial court in Stettler on May 22 and be in the Red Deer remand centre until that time. However, Sgt. Duncan Babchuk, Stettler RCMP’s detachment commander, said police will be present at the bail hearing to contest Baird’s release, noting that the police’s encounters with Baird since the original March arrest show the man is a danger due to his problem with alcohol.

Baird’s current ordeal with the law began on March 13, when he was arrested on mischief, though Babchuk noted he’d previously had his vehicle seized for driving while suspended. At the time of the arrest on mischief charges, Baird was placed under conditions to refrain from the possession and consumption of alcohol, attending residences and businesses in Big Valley, was ordered to turn in his firearms to police.

Baird was arrested again, on charges of failure to comply with conditions, on March 20, and then again on April 6 when he was found in Big Valley. The next set of charges on April 26 landed Baird before a judge, where Baird pleaded guilty to the firearms charge and landed himself a 10-day stay in jail.

“He was released on Monday, May 5, after serving his sentence,” Babchuk said. By 8:30 p.m., police already had Baird in custody for being intoxicated and in violation of his conditions.

“He’s 66-years-old, and he’s not getting it together,” Babchuk said.

The fact that Baird had a loaded firearm while intoxicated, his inability to remain out of trouble and sober and previous drunk driving convictions is why the Stettler police will be contesting any options of release at his upcoming appearance.

Babchuk said the RCMP and the MLA’s office have been fielding complaints and concerns about Baird, but notes that area residents have little to worry about.

“We seized the gun, and it’s going to be destroyed,” Babchuk said. He further said if people are concerned for their safety, they can phone 911, or if it’s not an emergency, the RCMP complaint line at 403-742-3381.

In happier news, the RCMP Musical Ride will be coming to the Stettler area this July. Plans are still being solidified for the event, which will see more than 30 highly trained RCMP members parade on their specially trained horses to musical routines. The Agricultural Society will be footing the bill for the feed and care of the horses during their three-day stay in the area, Babchuk said, and will be selling tickets later this spring to help offset the cost.

Earlier this year, RCMP constable Sarah MacQuarrie transferred out of the Stettler detachment to the Musical Ride, but is still in training so won’t be performing this time around.