By Stan Ashbee
Sunny South News
On Jan. 1, 2016, the RCMP will be taking over police services in Coaldale from the Lethbridge Regional Police Service (LRPS), under the guidance of Staff Sgt. Glenn Henry. Henry paid a visit to a recent Coaldale and District Chamber of Commerce meeting last month to discuss the upcoming transition and to answer questions from chamber members. “This is a period of transition for many of you. LRPS has done a fantastic job and in a few months the RCMP will take over. I’m very pleased I’m here to assist with that transition and I look forward to doing the best we can through the RCMP policing model,” Henry noted.
The staff sergeant has recently made Coaldale home. “I want to live where I work. This becomes my community,” he added.
Henry previously lived in Chestermere, near Calgary, and he told chamber members he spent six years there. Henry has been involved in policing for the past 30 years.
“I’ve done this for a long time. I really enjoy it and I’m very passionate about what I do and we’ll certainly try and do our best,” he said.
According to Henry, his experiences include being posted in Saskatchewan when he first started with the RCMP, he spent time in the North West Territories, was involved in fire safety training, did a United Nations mission in Kosovo and spent some time in Edson and Red Deer with the RCMP.
From a temporary detachment perspective at the Town of Coaldale office, Henry said, things are going really well and renovations are well under way.
“We have a good plan for the use of the space. It will be a storefront-type detachment, where we’ll have two municipal employees there during business hours to greet residents to deal with any police inquiries they might have. We’re going to set up some interview rooms and try to do as much full-service policing as we can from there,” said Henry.
Henry added the RCMP, with the help of the LRPS, will try to determine crime patterns in the community and the new police service will try to carry on successful enforcement strategies already in place, such as the School Resource Officer position at Coaldale schools.
“Try to model, as close as we can, with what they’re doing and try to make it a smooth transition as possible,” he said.
Of course, Henry explained, the RCMP is not the LRPS. “We come with our own models. We’re not going to be exactly like them but, I think, for the start — if it’s not broken, why change it.”
Every community is unique and has its own set of challenges, Henry said, and there’s a learning curve.
“My commitment is to set forth a plan, as how we’re going to do our policing model, but if need be we’ll adjust to make it better,” he said, adding where those adjustments come in requires community input from organizations such as the Coaldale chamber of commerce, from a police advisory committee and through interactions with the public.
One of the questions brought up by a chamber member was in regards to police vehicle servicing and repairs including gas purchases and if the RCMP would buy local.
Henry said the RCMP have purchased three new vehicles for Coaldale and those vehicles will be serviced by the dealership. The RCMP, according to Henry, also has an RCMP model guided by a national procurement process.
As we go along, Henry said, he is certainly open to buying local but purchases and servicing is a case-by-case basis. He added gas can be purchased anywhere.
Another question asked by chamber members was if there is anything businesses in Coaldale should be aware of, look out for or improve on, in regards to being vigilant.
Henry said groups such as the chamber provide value to any community and it’s the networking amongst an organization, which helps. He provided an example. “If you get someone in your shop passing out counterfeit $20 bills it would be nice to let everybody know right away.”
Henry added organizations can be the eyes and ears of a community, which ends up being community-based policing to help a police service help the community it serves.