By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
Staff Sergeant (S/Sgt) for the Coaldale-Picture Butte RCMP detachments, Mike Numan, presented a quarterly update to council as part of the June 10 Picture Butte Council meeting.
The update focused on statistics from January – March 2023. Numan reported, “we are part of (a) crime reduction initiative in southern Alberta. We meet once a month with our partners Lethbridge police, Blood Tribe police, Taber police and other surrounding detachments, probation and correctional centre (staff). We always seem to deal with the same 10 per cent for 80-90 per cent of the problems we encounter.” Numan said the Coaldale-Picture Butte detachment is utilizing these partnerships to try to combat this crime and said the meetings are a productive channel for sharing and generating strategies on a monthly basis.
The province is changing the way that they are handling victim services and implementing a regional model rather than localized processes within each police agency. The new regional model employs more directors with regional oversight, but Numan said, “there is concern with that in some of the communities because it might take the community out of local victim services.”
The Province had previously scheduled implementation of a regional victim services model for July 2023 but decided back in April to push the date back another year, “to make sure they do it right.” Numan said police agencies can expect the changes to go live in April 2024.
Under the current model, there are a number of service boards across Alberta, and each program has a different model of service. Numan speculated the regional model is being implemented as a means to achieve consistency in services across the province.
Numan said detachment staff are also in regular contact with the local rural crime watch in Picture Butte and surrounding area, and will now have a liaison officer working with this group.
Numan said, “every community we police has the same concerns, crime prevention, dealing with prolific offenders, visibility and community relations, and traffic enforcement,” adding that lower priority items such as traffic enforcement sometimes take a backseat to Criminal Code related calls.
Numan said, “we are certainly busier this past year than my first year here (2021) (…) the world is back to normal and we are seeing an increase. I think it also goes to show that communities are reporting the crimes happening more than before.”
Coun. Cynthia Papworth and deputy mayor Henry de Kok noted an observable improvement in RCMP presence in the Town in recent weeks.