Policing concerns addressed

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

High Prairie may be getting a better bang for its policing buck than one might think.

It was the message delivered by High Prairie RCMP S/Sgt. Warren Wright at council’s meeting March 10. Wright attended to answer questions regarding policing arising from council’s meeting Feb. 25.

Wright went over numbers council will be paying for regular policing in about four years – about $150,000 whereas for many years they paid nothing except for enhanced policing.

“$150,000 is a lot for the Town to pay for policing,” said Wright.

However, it is a small amount compared to the $7 million it takes to run the 26-person High Prairie detachment each year, said Wright.

He added the Province of Alberta pays 70 per cent of the costs to run the detachment.

Wright also responded to response times which was a concern brought forward by both High Prairie and Big Lakes County councils. For example, if 2-3 officers are called up north it will potentially cause a problem.

“Sometimes we might be caught with our resources an hour away,” said Wright. “We try to be everywhere but we can’t be everywhere.”

He referred to the ESSO robbery at 6:45 a.m. on Jan. 25 as an example.

“We didn’t have anyone working at 6:47 a.m.”

Police officers are scheduled to work during peak times of crime and complaints and resources are directed accordingly, he said. Those “peak times” are still during the day.

Wright also disputes anyone saying High Prairie is not a safe place to live.

“75-80 per cent of serious crimes are out of town,” said Wright. “High Prairie is an incredibly safe place to live in. Statistically, High Prairie is on the lower end [of serious crime].”

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