New crime analyst in Wetaskiwin a major boon: police commander

Insp. Keith Durance says County of Wetaskiwin money well spent

The commander of the Wetaskiwin RCMP detachment told County of Wetaskiwin councilors that he doesn’t want to see the new crime analyst position disappear.

Insp. Keith Durance requested to speak directly to council at their regular meeting Jan. 8 to discuss the new crime analyst position, which was just introduced recently and is paid for by the County of Wetaskiwin.

Assistant CAO Jeff Chipley introduced Durance to councilors, and noted that the provincial government’s recent announcement, that more police will be available to municipalities, but municipalities will directly pay for them, will have an effect on the County of Wetaskiwin.

Durance said the crime analyst position was filled by a civilian staff member already working at the Wetaskiwin RCMP detachment. This person was very qualified: University graduate with Bachelor of Arts in Justice Studies and Diploma in Police Foundations. Durance said the crime analyst has already developed strong relationships with all members of Wetaskiwin RCMP, CRU, and GIS, Wetaskiwin Community Corrections, analysts throughout the province, has RCMP security clearance and is a County of Wetaskiwin resident.

Durance provided a detailed report on the duties taken on by the crime analyst. According to the report the analysts daily tasks include review daily occurrence reports from Wetaskiwin, Maskwacis, and Ponoka, collect stats on calls for service and crime prevention actions, review provincial Intelex reports and CAD sit reps for information relevant to Wetaskiwin, review PROS files for events and persons of interest based on detachment priorities, review provincial corrections release report for priority offender release dates, communicate with probation regarding priority offenders` release conditions and curfews and new involvement with police, complete crime mapping and analyze hot spots and high priority patrol areas, stat collection of high risk occurrences prioritized by RCMP K Division, review of Crime Stoppers tips and creation of files for member investigation and liaise with four branches of Rural Crime Watch, including Falun, Lakedell, Hillside, and Rosebriar.

Other duties noted in the presentation include weekly things like updating curfew check binder with current exemptions, addresses, and other conditions, week in review for members, bulletins such as missing persons information, special operations stats, the “hot wheels” stolen vehicle bulletins which include photos for members, hub meeting, assist with quarterly reports, assist with public meetings, special projects such as assisting GIS and MCU with surveillance video review and timeline creation and timeline creation for linked occurrences (i.e. multiple break and enters) and database use.

Durance made it clear to councilors that the limited time the crime analyst has been at the detachment the staff member has become extremely valuable to local RCMP. He said this civilian staff member caught on to the job quickly and is doing work comparable in quality to crime analysts at the K Division office.

The inspector said the way he saw it, there were a couple options for council. One, council could continue funding the crime analyst position “status quo” while keeping in mind the provincial government is examining support staff like the crime analyst.

Or another funding partner could be found to help with the position.

Lastly, Durance said the option of terminating the position means all that work would be delegated to others, and if the program ever returned, it would have to start from scratch.

Councilor Kathy Rooyakkers stated the county has to complete its budget and has to ensure there is money to pay for the crime analyst. She noted that if support staff like the crime analyst could be considered part of the provincial government’s announcement on new police, that would help. Plus, pressure on the provincial government in this direction would help too.

“We need K Division to really push (the value of) support staff,” she said. “We’ve been pushing it but K Division needs to push really hard.”

Durance said RCMP leaders are doing that.

Reeve Terry Van de Kraats said he has been lobbying Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer. “He knows who I am,” said the reeve.

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca

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