Stettler cops back from helping in Fort Mac

Two constables who headed north to help with the Fort McMurray evacuation are back in Stettler.

Two constables who headed north to help with the Fort McMurray evacuation are back in Stettler.

Constables Matt Fifield and Jason Emmons were sent north to Fort McMurray to assist Wood Buffalo RCMP during the wildfire crisis affecting the county. The two left on Thursday, May 5 and returned to Stettler on Thursday, May 12, according to Stettler RCMP detachment commander Sgt. Phil Penny.

“They (were) doing a couple of different duties,” he explained. Relief constables sent from across the province helped man highway checkpoints, patrolled Fort McMurray to prevent looting, cared for animals abandoned during the evacuation, and assisted Wood Buffalo RCMP with service calls to the rest of its detachment area.

The wildfire that tore through Fort McMurray has brought out the best in many, but it has also brought out the worst, Penny noted, advising kind-hearted Albertans to be wary of scammers looking to make a quick buck off the crisis.

“The Stettler RCMP would like to remind the public that criminals can seek to take advantage of people’s generosity in times of crisis to commit frauds and scams,” Penny said. “It’s recommended the public donate through organizations or people they know and are familiar with in an effort to prevent being victimized by donation fraud.”

When in doubt, Penny said people should ask for documentation. If the person doesn’t wish to provide it or is hesitant to do so, then don’t donate.

Fas-Gas robber caughtAn armed robbery at Stettler Fas-Gas has resulted in the arrest of Jayson Marshall, 28.

On May 2, Marshall allegedly attended the gas station on Highway 12 and brandished a weapon at the clerk, demanding money. Staff complied with the demands and the man left without further incident. Police did not say how much was stolen.

Later that night, following an investigation, police located and arrested Marshall. He is scheduled to attend court in Stettler later this month.

Long weekend can be fun, if you’re carefulThe first “summer” long weekend is upon us, with the May long weekend often the first long weekend of the year where it’s possible for people to head up to the lake and have some fun after being cooped up all winter.

The weekend can be a blast, but can easily end in tragedy unless people are responsible, Penny noted.

“Hypothermia is a real factor at this time of year,” he said. While the temperatures of late have been warm — and are forecasted to be hot over the weekend — local lakes are still relatively cold and exposure to the water can lead to serious trouble.

If you’re heading out on the lake, make sure you take proper precautions, Penny said. No drinking on boats — that’s as illegal as getting behind the vehicle while drinking — and ensure everyone on board is wearing a life jacket.

“Dress appropriately,” Penny said. “Be prepared — tell people where you’re going and when you’re expected to be back.”

Traffic on area highways is likely to be heavier this weekend, too; so Penny urges people to drive with caution and remain alert.