According to S/Sgt Bruce Holliday, the commanding officer of the Stettler RCMP detachment, the numbers are trending in the right direction.
Holliday attended the June 21 council meeting to provide a quarterly update to council. His update included crime statistics and an update body-worn cameras.
With the Stettler detachment being split into both a municipal and provincial side, Holliday looked at the statistics separately.
On the municipal side of things, as far as criminal code offences go, Holliday reported a five per cent reduction in persons crimes, a 35 per cent reduction in property crime, and a 12 per cent reduction in other criminal areas which when averaged made for a 25 per cent total drop.
Flipping over to the provincial (county) side of the detachment, persons crime saw a four per cent reduction, property crime a 39 per cent reduction, and a 50 per cent drop in other criminal code matters which when averaged makes for a 34 per cent total drop in crime.
These reductions are comparisons of January to May 2021 to 2022.
According to Holliday, a non-criminal area that is picking up for his members, and all detachments across the province, are mental health calls.
The Stettler detachment has also seen a 52 per cent increase in the reporting of suspicious persons or vehicles.
Holliday noted that out of 23 communities in the district Stettler has the best statistics of them all.
As far as body cameras go, Holliday told council that they are currently being piloted in Alberta, Nova Scotia, and Nunavut but will be rolling out to the majority of members.
From Holliday’s perspective, the body camera’s are a good thing.
“Our body cams would show a full picture of what is happening,” said Holliday.
“They would show how (the members) are operating. And evidentary, there is nothing better. It’s a very effective tool.”
According to documentation provided in the council agenda package, the RCMP will be deploying between 10,000 and 15,000 body-worn cameras to contract and federal frontline police members.
One concern Holliday does have with the technology is the Canadian climate for several months of the year. He has concerns that the cold climate could impact or impair operation of the devices; however, until they are fully tested no one is 100 per cent sure how they will be affected.
Holliday noted that as far as staffing goes at the detachment, he has nearly a full complement and he has been very proactive in filling vacancies.
Before he left, Holliday and council discussed how often he should attend meetings. He had been providing quarterly updates to council, however council is aware that he is busy and have instead asked he come twice a year, in the spring near the end of the RCMP fiscal year and again in the fall, half-way through the year.