‘Trashing’ RCMP ires councillor

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

A High Prairie town councillor was quick to criticize fellow members of council after what she called “trashing” of the RCMP at their Feb. 25 meeting.

Council was responding to a letter from High Prairie RCMP S/Sgt. Warren Wright asking council to list their top three policing priorities for the coming year.

“I don’t think our community is being well-served at all,” says Councillor Brian Gilroy, citing numerous and repeated break and enters in town.

Councillor Donna Deynaka was quick to defend police.

“Before we sit here and trash the RCMP … we should have Mr. Wright come here and talk to us,” says Deynaka.

“I think there are some issues that need to be brought forward for him to explain. I think they’re trying and have to be given the benefit of the doubt.”

Councillor Judy Stenhouse adds it must be frustrating for police to deal with crime.

“It’s the court system,” she says. “Once it gets there it gets thrown out.”

Councillor Michael Long provided a different perspective.

“But now that we’re paying for [policing] … the onus is on us. What ware we getting? We shouldn’t be afraid to criticize that service now that we’re paying fort it.”

Long was quick to remind council the Jason Kenney–led government is making all municipalities under 5,000 population partially pay for policing.

“Now we have to pay for it. Yeah, I’m kind of frustrated with the RCMP.”

Councillor Arlen Quartly got council back on track in listing priorities. Council agreed with his suggestion the priorities were crime prevention [including the dog handler’s position], community policing, and drug reduction.

“Let’s see if we can get a dog handler first,” says Mayor Brian Panasiuk. “Then let’s talk about other issues.”

Wright is invited to the next meeting.

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