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Increased calls limiting RCMP birthday parade appearances

Members of the RCMP Grande Prairie detachment have been thrilled to take part in recent birthday parades, however, it’s becoming an increasingly difficult gift to deliver.

Grande Prairie RCMP Staff Sergeant Roy Kennedy says in the last two to three weeks, calls for service have jumped by an average of 70 per day, which takes away the opportunity for many members to give back to the community.

“As the emergency protocols are being relaxed and lifted, our calls for service have gone up significantly, and we’re just not in a position to accommodate a lot of these requests right now,” he explains.

“It’s not an instance of not wanting to do it, but we have calls and investigations to conduct in the community and those have to take precedence.”

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Kennedy adds, with the uptick in calls comes unpredictability in their scheduling for extracurricular activates. That means a lack of RCMP representation for someone’s special day.

“We might be able to say at the time it looks doable, but in reality, it’s very difficult to predict what our availability will be throughout the day.”

Recently, the Grande Prairie Fire Department posted guidelines for families wishing to get a birthday drive-by, including age restrictions and a 48-hour notice for the request. It’s noted that, due to similar uncertainties surrounding emergency calls, it may be wise to manage the expectations of the person whose birthday it is.

Birthday parades are typically a line of vehicles driving past someone’s house on their birthday to wish them well while social distancing. Many people have requested emergency services to join in.

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