Sexsmith Mayor Kate Potter says suggestions from a recent discussion with the RCMP has to a lead to a more visible presence by members of the RCMP in the municipality, and overall, a positive reaction from residents.
Potter says having the ability to hold frank discussions with the authorities, including putting together a list of concerns from municipalities, seems to be to paying off.
“While there are of course similarities between urban and rural policing, the types of calls within the city are very different than rural calls on a whole,” she says.
“We came away with basically three major priorities, one being communication… to just grow on the communication side, and also to help people understand how best to prevent crime.”
Potter says one of the biggest disadvantages of not having a standalone RCMP detachment in the area, residents have often felt forgotten. However, she says a change in service has seen a massive boost in the visibility of uniformed officers.
“It can mean, in a region, up to 30 more patrols a month, in a rural area, which is just an astronomical improvement, so we are actually really excited for where things are going and hopeful that will help maintain an ongoing [feeling] of safety for residents,” she adds.
In an effort to boost rural policing in the area, In late 2020, The County of Grande Prairie announced it started a conversation with the RCMP on building a stand-alone police detachment in the Hamlet of Clairmont. The plan, as presented at the time, suggested it may also try to incorporate other local policing under the same roof, like from Municipal District of Greenview, and the Town of Sexsmith.