Approximately 20 people participated in a Wembley virtual town hall with the Beaverlodge RCMP last Tuesday.
Issues discussed included the use of snowmobiles in town, the prospect of starting a local Citizens on Patrol (COPs) group and recent break-ins, said Ash Browne, Beaverlodge RCMP detachment commander.
“The town hall gives me that raw information I need to build our annual performance plan,” Browne said.
“We have these consultations to focus our policing efforts in certain areas.”
Browne said the RCMP held the town hall via Zoom from Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum with assistance from the Town of Wembley.
He was joined by another member of the Beaverlodge Detachment and one from the Crime Reduction Unit as well as Wembley council, he said.
Browne acknowledged the participation level was lower than ideal and said this might be due to town residents’ conflicting commitments or the limits of having a digital forum. While participation was low, he said this allowed him to address each person individually.
Browne said he received a question from a resident as to whether the community should launch a COPs group.
“I was in support of that,” Browne said.
“Hythe just went through this process … (and) community members can be part of the solution, because police cannot be everywhere all the time.”
Browne said if the town starts a group the RCMP will provide a liaison.
Another issue that arose was the use of snowmobiles in town. Wembley has a bylaw stating snowmobilers and ATV users should only leave a residence through the most direct route to fields, he noted.
Browne said this issue is best addressed through patrols, and officers can be aware it is something to look out for. Patrols are mainly preventative, he added.
Recent break-ins at the public works building and firehall earlier this month were also top of mind.
The Beaverlodge RCMP shared images online of the suspect from another attempted break-in outside a business while the investigation is ongoing. Browne said he believes the incidents are all related.
Browne previously hosted town halls for Beaverlodge and Horse Lake last year and an in-person event in Hythe in June 2019.
He said his performance plan for the detachment should be ready for April 1.
Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News