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Sexsmith facing reduced Peace Officer services until March

The Town of Sexsmith will see its enforcement services hours provided by the County of Grande Prairie slashed from 15 hours a week down to nine to start the new year. In an email to Sexsmith CAO Rachel Wueschner, Manager of Regional Enforcement Services Stuart Rempel explained the County has “experienced an unusual and untimely turnover” in uniformed personnel in the Enforcement Services Department.

“We find ourselves currently short seven uniformed officers, three Peace Officers, two Bylaw [Enforcement] Officers, and two RCMP. We are struggling to meet demands and seeing signs of burnout in our officers.”

The County of Grande Prairie and the Town of Sexsmith have an agreement that outlines the sharing of County-based enforcement offices. Sexsmith Mayor Kate Potter says she was well aware of the provisions written into it that allow for specific reductions in hours when dealing with unforeseen circumstances.

“We contract out bylaw services for a reason and we want to get that service, so we are looking to see if there are any other options and to make sure we are covering all of our bases and providing the best service for our residents.”

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Potter adds if it were any other time of year, especially if the weather was nicer, the reduction in enforcement may have a bigger impact. However, she believes the town has enough local resources to get them through.

“We do have our [Citizens On Patrol Society] which is very active. They also help keep an eye on things and report things that come up. We also have residents who are also pretty vigilant that way, so at the end of the day we are hoping to see not much change, although we would love to maintain our service levels.”

According to the County of Grande Prairie, the reduction in services will be lifted on March 31st, 2020.

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