Pubdate: Wed, 18 Jun 2008
Source: Stettler Independent (CN AB)
Copyright: 2008 Stettler Independent
Author: Richard Froese


Fighting crime and major issues of drugs, thefts, break-ins and 
traffic are top priorities for the County of Stettler and Stettler RCMP.

"We have a serious problem with illegal drugs in the Stettler 
region," said Stettler RCMP Sergeant Rowland Schmidt, speaking to 
county council at its regular meeting June 11.

Members of council are very concerned with illegal drugs that are 
affecting many people and many communities in the region.

"When students as young as Grade 5 are dealing with drugs in schools, 
we have a problem," said Councillor Earl Marshall.

Dealing with drugs will remain an issue of utmost importance for 
local police, according to RCMP.

"We will always have drugs as a priority," said Sergeant Schmidt.

"We have to respond to the drug issue."

Local police officers are very keen to tackle the drug problem, he said.

Marijuana, crack and cocaine are prominent in the region, with some 
crystal meth, said Sergeant Schmidt.

Drug Awareness Resistance Education (DARE) program in local schools 
is helping to teach Grade-5 students about the negative affects of 
using drugs, he said.

Rising problems with drugs could likely be related to the sharp 30 
per cent increase in reported property crimes of break-ins, thefts 
and possession of stolen property in 2007 over 2006.

"The reasons we could have more property crimes may be because our 
population is increasing, we have more drug issues and property 
crimes help pay for drugs, and we have more transient people," said 
Sergeant Schmidt.

However, the increase in property crime may not be true reflection, 
said one councilor.

"A lot of minor property crimes in rural areas are not reported to 
police by people,' said Councillor Dave Grover.

"We encourage everyone to report all crimes and suspicious activity," 
said Sergeant Schmidt.

"We want to deal with property crime and theft."

Anyone with information on any criminal or suspicious activity is 
requested to immediately phone Stettler RCMP at 742-3382 or Crime 
Stoppers at 1-800-877-TIPS (2477) or on the website at

Traffic and pedestrians are other concerns of county council and Stettler RCMP.

"We have stepped up enforcement for impaired driving and speeding," 
said Sergeant Schmidt.

He is pleased that the number of collisions in this rural area is low 
despite the high population.

"We are happy with the low number of fatal and injury-related 
collisions," he said.

Sergeant Schmidt noted that for violations on Highway 12 and Highway 
56 in the county, officers are registering the location as the County 
of Stettler as that would funnel the fines into Stettler county.

Councillor Blake Chapman will also present the county concerns to the 
Stettler RCMP community advisory committee as the county representative.
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