Hudson’s Hope RCMP share policing priorities

·4 min read

Hudson’s Hope RCMP Detachment Commander Cpl. Rob Gardner met with the Peace River Regional District last month, giving the board an overview on the police’s activities in 2021.

Appearing as a delegation on May 26 at the PRRD’s outreach meeting in Hudson’s Hope, Gardner said the public’s been a great partner for the RCMP since arriving at his current posting over two years ago.

“We made the best of it, we’ve worked really well with the community and within the community. It’s been really good two years even with the restrictions we’ve had. We’re excited that things seem to be lifting,” Gardner said, starting just as the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Traffic and road safety still a concern

Traffic and road safety remains a top concern for the officers, patrolling stretches of highway marked by ongoing Site C construction, and making sure drivers are slowing down by the local school.

Last year they flagged 527 traffic contacts – driving infractions ranging from speeding to impaired driving investigations, said Gardner. The number was over their anticipated target of 475.

“The school zone has gotten a little bit better. We have a lot of people who drive through there and they don’t see the large school zone signs,” he said, noting digital readout signs provided by the Ministry of Transportation have curbed some of the speeding.

“But we still have people who come through town and just miss it, so we spend a lot of time there. Of course, kids are our number one priority no matter what we’re talking about. So, we spend it there and then follow up with the construction zones,” said Gardner.

Detachment has stepped up patrols for off-road vehicles, as ATV enthusiasts frequent Hudson’s Hope. The population nearly doubles during the May long weekend, Gardner said.

“Safety is huge, and we need to make sure that people have their vehicles registered, but also not being impaired and doing safe riding,” he said, noting interactions were minimal this year.

Crime reduction and rural patrols

Gardner said theft from industrial sites was an issue both in town and in the outlying areas, and recommended that they continue rural patrols to better monitor what’s happening and deter criminal activity.

“One of the biggest things we can do there is rural patrols. So that’s literally just myself and my members when they have time, getting in a police vehicle and just going for a drive – take a drive out to the gas plants, take a drive out to the dam, areas that people are camping, and just have a presence out there,” he said.

545 rural patrols were completed last year, after a target of 350 was set. Gardner said it’s more than just patrolling, they also take the time to chat with citizens in the areas they visit, speaking with gas plant employees, ranchers, loggers, and other members of industry to get a better sense of what might be happening.

“We’re just trying to get a feel. A lot of them don’t want to report things to us, or don’t think about reporting things that they see to us. So if we go to them, they have that chance to have that talk with us,” Gardner added.

112 files have been logged so far this year, in comparison to 2021, which saw 182 files. Gardner said he’s not sure what’s contributing to the drop in files, but suggested it could be due to repeat offenders already having been dealt with.

“There’s prolific offenders that every community has, and as they come and go, things kind of ebb and flow with that. We’ve had no prolific offender issues at all this year,” he said. “Looking back at the people that we deal with regularly, they’re either out of town or just not around.”

Community outreach

Community events have gone well over the past two years in Hudson’s Hope, said Gardner, with 36 completed last year despite the pandemic. Many were planned with the help of the local district and council.

“I look forward to working with the district further as things relax here,” said Gardner.

Highlights included a Christmas toy drive and reverse parade, delivering meals to seniors, and creating a community archery club.

The detachment also has a good relationship with Hudson’s Hope Elementary and Secondary, said Gardner, noting they limited their visits during the pandemic to scheduled events like Earth Day.

“We were able to attend 28 school events, which was awesome. But we used to do what we call impromptu visits – during lunch hour or recess, we would just drive by and stop in,” he said.

While Hudson’s Hope is the smallest detachment within the regional district, residents are community-minded and police-friendly, said Gardner.

“The citizens here really work well with us. So, we’re super lucky with that,” he said.

Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative.

Got a story or an opinion? Email Tom at tsummer@ahnfsj.ca

Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alaska Highway News

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