Changes made to rural policing

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More officers will be able to more efficiently patrol and respond in rural areas around, Carman, Morden, Manitou, Winkler and Altona after a realignment of rural policing services, according to Staff Sgt. Bobby Baker, the area commander for the Pembina Valley Area. It will also allow them to better respond to the growing meth and mental health issues.
In a press release Baker said the RCMP detachments of Carman, Morden and Manitou have “hubbed” for the realignment.
‘The patrol officers and management team at these locations have merged to increase officer response and provide a cohesive and directed approach to policing in the overall area,” he said.
Baker said they’ll have more officers working a shift together, which will provide a better response to calls for service. Efficiencies will also allow them to prioritize multiple matters while still taking part in community based initiatives such talks in schools and other crime prevention measures.
Baker said the types and frequency of calls has changed over the years.
“The highest percentage of calls for service within the overall area occur in a “corridor” between the Town of Carman through to the Rural Municipality of Stanley (where the population is exponentially increasing),” he said. “Over the past year or so there has been a drastic spike in calls for service related to illicit drugs (specifically methamphetamine) and mental health issues.”
Baker said realigning policing services allows police to provide a more appropriate response to those issues but also to focus targeted proactive patrols, checkstops and increase visibility while freeing up officers to work along specialized RCMP units that focus on things like drug enforcement, intelligence initiatives and cyber crimes.
“Having a greater pool of local officers available will also give the local RCMP the ability to organize large-scale checkstops and other traffic-based initiatives with on-site assistance from the RCMP’s provincial Traffic Services Unit,” he said. “One of the priorities of Pembina Valley RCMP is to conduct “gravel road patrols” in the rural communities from the RM of Rhineland to the RM of Grey to the RM of Lorne for visibility, safety, and enforcement.“
Baker said police spend less time in the office than ever before, doing much of what used to be office paperwork in their cars.
“Where a Pembina Valley Area RCMP member’s home office is situated will be of little concern as they will merely report there at the start of their shift and then patrol the overall area and respond to complaints,” he said.
Responding to rural crime must be done differently than in the past, because the frequency and types of crimes has changed.
“In the past two years alone, the prisoner count at the Carman Detachment has doubled,” he said.
Baker said crime reduction is the focus to make communities safe.
“With the influx of challenges related to meth, mental health, and other issues facing police and communities in 2019 and beyond, the realigned Pembina Valley Area RCMP is another sign the RCMP is continuously adapting to meet the needs of rural communities and making efforts to keep families, homes, and the roads we travel on safe.”
For those seeking services at police detachments there will be no change.
Baker said RCMP detachments in Carman, Morden and Manitou continue to be staffed by administrative assistants who handle things such as criminal record checks and accident reports.
The changes also come with some personnel changes.
Sgt. James Munro is transferring to Lundar. Sgt. Munro spent the past five years in Manitou and was instrumental in steering the realignment of the new Pembina Valley Area RCMP model. “Those who know James know him to be an extremely approachable officer who is engaged with his communities,” Baker said. “We wish him well.”
He will be replaced in September by Sgt. Chris Johnson who comes to the area from Winnipeg Serious Crimes (homicide). A very knowledgeable and respected police officer, Chris is a farm boy from Langruth, Manitoba, who is ecstatic to return to rural policing.
This summer also saw the return of Cpl. Mitch MacDonald to the area. Mitch has a wealth of experience from rural policing to Federal plain clothes policing with complex and serious investigations. He was posted here in the past. “Having Mitch return to the area where he started his policing career is a major coup for us,” he said.
Cpl. Darcy Thiessen will be transferring away this Fall. Darcy has spent over a decade between Altona and Morden with the RCMP in both rural and Federal plain clothes policing.
“It is not a stretch to say Darcy is easily the most well-known officer in the Pembina Valley Area, particularly in the south,” he said. “In recent memory there has not been an RCMP member more approachable, well-known, and involved with folks in his community than Darcy.”
An avid outdoorsman, Darcy sought out, asked for, and received an “adventure posting” in Berens River.

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