The Airdrie RCMP detachment and Rocky View County's Enforcement Services department are offering a virtual town hall Nov. 4 that will delve into the topic of rural policing.
The County will facilitate the online forum from 7 to 9 p.m., offering residents the opportunity to learn more about rural policing issues in RVC and the surrounding region. Those speaking at the event will include Airdrie RCMP Detachment Commander Insp. Lauren Weare and representatives from the Southern Alberta RCMP District. Their presentations will be followed by a question-and-answer period.
“For the RCMP, we recognize that Albertans respectfully should have a voice in their police service,” said Weare, whose jurisdiction as Airdrie's detachment commander also includes north Rocky View County, Balzac, Crossfield, Irricana and Beiseker. “This is an opportunity to facilitate and obtain some feedback, answer some questions if they have any, and it's a way of engaging in two-way communication with the people we serve.”
Weare added there are many differences between urban and rural policing, due to the smaller populations and more spread-out area that must be patrolled by police in rural communities.
“The geographic area in the provincial areas is very large,” she said. “The other piece that is unique, specifically to RVC, is their proximity to what I call the Calgary urban areas. They are right on the outside of Calgary, so it is not uncommon for some of the issues that occur in Calgary to impact the provincial residents in RVC and surrounding areas.”
Issues that Weare predicts will be addressed at the Nov. 4 town hall include RCMP response times, current crime trends and statistics, 24-hour policing in rural areas, and the pay raise for RCMP officers that was recently approved, thanks to a new collective agreement the RCMP signed with the federal government.
“I think there's a number of things people are interested in knowing,” she said. “I think one of the things they would like to know is what exactly does the RCMP's response to rural crime look like? And what are citizens' roles in that?”
Those interested in attending the online forum are asked to RSVP by contacting Lorraine Wesley at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm their participation in the event. RSVPs can be received up to 4 p.m. on Nov. 4. If participants would like to submit a question in regards to rural policing, they are asked to include it with their RSVP.
“I'm certainly looking forward to helping citizens shape how we respond and the things they'd like to see us do in the future,” Weare said.