Pubdate: Tue, 26 Apr 2005
Source: Rocky View Weekly (CN AB)
Copyright: 2005 Tall Taylor Publishing Ltd
Author: Shawne Mohl
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


Chestermere residents are going to start having a higher police presence in 
their community, thanks to a municipal agreement signed between the Town 
and the RCMP. The Chestermere RCMP has branched out on their own and have 
officially become their own identity, after working under the umbrella of 
the Strathmore RCMP detachment for a number of years.

The Town of Chestermere has entered into a municipal agreement with the 
RCMP, to provide full police protection exclusively to the Town.

Prior to this agreement Chestermere residents were still receiving their 
police service from the RCMP, but the local detachment was only a satellite 
office, meaning that police officers weren't spending all of their time in 
the Town, as they were sharing their officers with Strathmore.

"The Town residents will now have five to six officers responsible just for 
the Town," explained Chestermere's RCMP detachment Commander Cpl. Glenn 
Pollard. "The response times are going to be faster and better."

Currently the Chestermere RCMP has five officers employed with them, 
including Pollard. However, there is another officer expected to join the 
local force in October, and possibly a seventh next year.

The main reason why the Chestermere RCMP have become their own office is 
due to population numbers. The Town currently has a population of about 
8,800 residents and within the next one to two years is expected to grow to 
over 10,000.

"A lot of it is regulated as it depends on your population. And, with our 
population growth out here, we put in several years ago for additional 
policing," explained Ada Rawlins, Deputy Mayor for the Town of Chestermere. 
Now that Chestermere has their own fleet of officers, the Town is hoping 
that the RCMP will have an even greater presence in the schools. However, 
Rawlins commended the current detachment for already doing a good job in 
that aspect.

"They do (a good job). What I like is that they visit the schools and put 
on education programs and get to know the kids and get known by the kids 
through those programs," Rawlins said. "The kids get to know them and are 
aware that they are around (which may deter them from committing crimes)."

Pollard says that one of his officers is a trained officer with the D.A.R.E 
program, which he hopes can be set up in the local elementary school in the 
near future.

The D.A.R.E program is a drug and alcohol prevention program, in an attempt 
to educate children before peer pressure sets in, in the higher grades when 
teenagers begin to start experimenting with the two.

Pollard says that community involvement, including getting the officers 
into the schools, is one of his goals for the local detachment.

"One of our goals is to increase our involvement with the schools and the 
community, and of course crime reduction is always key in our business," he 
said. Pollard says that since the RCMP have had a presence in the Town, he 
believes they have done a good job at reducing certain types of crime - 
especially the marijuana grow operations.

"In the past (the biggest problem) was the marijuana grow operations. Now, 
we are dealing with more construction theft, drivers, issues in the 
schools, and different things like this," Pollard said.

Pollard says that one of the reasons why he believes grow operations have 
been reduced is because of the higher RCMP presence in the community, and 
their success at shutting down their operations.

"We have defiantly reduced the numbers in regards to grow operations. I 
really think that marijuana grow operations are diminishing because of our 
increased presence," Pollard said. "Also, the community involved with them 
now being aware of what type of activity and things to look for has also 
helped us out a lot."

The Chestermere RCMP have moved into the new Town office with the other 
staff, for the time being. They are expected to be located in the new 
office until the old Town office can be renovated to the RCMP standards. In 
October the RCMP are expected to move back over to the old Town office, 
where it will become exclusively the full-time Chesteremere RCMP 
detachment. For the past number of years the five officers have all been 
working out of one small office in the old Town office.

"We are very pleased that with our town hall moving into the new town 
office that the old building will be able to be used for a full detachment 
for the RCMP," Rawlins added.

Despite, the Chestermere RCMP detachment now being solo from the Strathmore 
office they, like a lot of other RCMP detachments in the Province, will 
continue to have a strong working relationship.

"If there is an emergency on the highway, close to Chestermere we will both 
respond and we will all work together to assist one another when needed," 
Pollard explained. "But, the basic idea of this agreement is that during 
those non-emergency situations there will a higher police presence right 
here in Chestermere."

The Town of Chestermere is paying approximately $85,000 per officer to have 
the RCMP situated in the community. However, they do receive some 
Provincial funding to assist them with the costs.

Chestermere RCMP are available 24 hours. The complaint number for the RCMP, 
for the time being, will remain 934-3535. However, if you have an 
administrative question or concern you can phone the office, Monday to 
Friday at 207-2818 and you will be connected directly to the Chestermere 
RCMP office.
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