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Tag: RCMP

Womens' hands joined in a gesture of comfort

Increased demand for victim services, volunteers needed

Ranchlands Victim Services, the only 24-hour crisis unit in Alberta, is looking for volunteers who can devote time to assisting victims of crime and tragedy with their short-term needs.

In partnership with the RCMP and additional co-partners, RVS provides victims with emotional support, practical assistance and referrals to community resources for continued support. 

According to Shelly-Anne Dennis, executive program manager, the organization has recently experienced increased demand for their services, requiring more volunteers to provide victims with support. 

“We’re seeing more cases of domestic violence and sexual assault, which means a greater need for our services,” she says.

 

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Volunteers typically go out to crisis calls and may provide court support, accompaniment, transportation and other means of assisting victims.

Supporting the communities of Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass, Fort Macleod, Claresholm and Piikani Nation, RVS emphasizes the provision of a co-ordinated, skilled and efficient response to victims of traumatic events. 

“Being able to administer trauma support to victims of crime and tragedy in our community is a very crucial and beneficial service,” Dennis says.

The RCMP often rely on RVS staff and volunteers to provide support to victims and their families, while they focus on potential offenders, particularly in cases of criminal activity.

 

 

Part of the struggle to find volunteers comes with the rigorous background check that each potential volunteer or staff member of RVS has to go through to be accepted.

“You have to pass an enhanced security clearance, which is the same clearance as an RCMP officer, so it’s a very strict background check,” Dennis says

Employees and volunteers of RVS have a level of security clearance that exposes them to police files that they must keep confidential. A thorough background check is crucial in ensuring someone is suited to sign on.

These background checks are meant not only to look for criminal history, but also to look for anything that could affect work credibility or re-traumatize someone who was once a victim themself.

 

 

This could include a recent history of domestic violence, assault or financial stressors.

In time, Dennis hopes RVS can get more volunteers to maintain a full unit to service and support our communities.

“I’m pretty passionate about this job — it isn’t just a job to me. I love helping people and the work I do to help said people,” she says.

“We hope that our work decreases the amount of trauma that people have to go through and that eventually, with the proper help, they could move back into a normal lifestyle sooner.”

If you wish to become a volunteer with RVS, the advocate application is available online at ranchlandsvictimservices.com.

 

Pig roast at wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

 

 

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‘No decision’ on Alberta Police Service, says Ellis

Danielle Smith announced last June that she would set the plan in motion if she won the United Conservatives’ leadership campaign, which she did in October.

Premier Smith instructed Ellis in a November mandate letter to “launch an Alberta Police Service” with Justice Minister Tyler Shandro and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. 

Smith further mandated Ellis, himself a former police officer, to work with local law enforcement and municipal governments to “establish a regional approach to policing in Alberta.” 

“There’s no decision that’s been made to establish an Alberta Police Service,” Ellis told Shootin’ the Breeze at a virtual press conference Jan. 24.

The minister said all options are on the table when it comes to curbing rural crime, pointing to Alberta Sheriffs’ success in pulling about 2,220 suspected impaired drivers off provincial highways in the last year and a half. 

“The reality is that the RCMP are struggling to meet the needs of Canadians when it comes to policing,” Ellis said, later adding, “The problem is that the RCMP just do not have enough human beings to provide their contracted services.”

 

 

Local heads of government disagree — forcefully, in some cases. 

“I can’t see how making changes in our provincial policing will have a positive effect on our community,” Crowsnest Pass Mayor Blair Painter told the Breeze.

“We’re 100 per cent behind the RCMP,” Reeve Rick Lemire said on behalf of the Municipal District of Pincher Creek. 

Town mayor Don Anderberg preferred not to stake a position at all, citing that town council hadn’t deliberated the issue. 

Previous councils had expressed concerns about low staffing levels at Pincher Creek RCMP, but Anderberg said the town has always had “a great working relationship” with the detachment. 

The Rural Municipalities of Alberta, which represents 69 rural counties and municipalities, including Crowsnest Pass and the Municipal District of Pincher Creek, wrote in a winter 2023 policy statement that “The creation of a provincial police force should not take place unless a detailed feasibility study proves that such an approach will reduce provincial and municipal policing costs and enhance service levels across the province.” 

 

Table setting of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

 

The government’s own findings show that it would cost an estimated $366 million to create an APS and move away from the RCMP. The same report, published by Price Waterhouse Coopers in 2021, concluded that it would cost between $24 million and $49 million less to operate an established APS per year versus the RCMP’s current annual costs, assuming a 20 per cent pay bump in the RCMP’s new collective bargaining agreement with the federal government.

Regional crime is already down considerably across the region, according to the most recent statistics from Crowsnest Pass and Pincher Creek RCMP. As the Breeze reported in the new year, reported incidents of property crime and so-called persons crime (which accounts for assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, muggings, uttering threats and criminal harrasment) are at five-year lows, according to Pincher Creek RCMP’s Sgt. Ryan Hodge. 

Crowsnest Pass RCMP’s Sgt. Rendell Guinchard reported similar drops across both categories over the summer. 

Both commanders regularly consult with municipalities in their jurisdictions.

Minister Ellis repeatedly praised members of law enforcement, especially Alberta Mounties. 

“As a former police officer, myself, I personally didn’t care what uniform I was wearing,” he told reporters. “I just wanted to make sure that I was providing good service to the people that I was representing.”

Crack cocaine: what is it and where can a person go for help?

Addicts of cocaine can experience a variety of behaviours such as anger, distrust, impaired judgment and toxic psychosis. Toxic psychosis may work in conjunction with a loss of reality, delirium and hallucinations.

Cocaine usage can also lead to acts of violence, and some crimes committed while under the influence of cocaine are characterized by their extreme violence.

Crack cocaine is a mixture of cocaine, sodium bicarbonate and/or ammonium bicarbonate. Crack cocaine looks like little pebbles, known to addicts as “rocks.” Heating those rocks makes a crackling sound and that is where the name “crack cocaine” comes from.

The effect of smoking crack cocaine is immediate and far more intense than that of snorting cocaine. The high from crack cocaine is short-lived and coming down from that high is far more unpleasant.

Regular crack cocaine usage can cause:
—Violent behaviour
—Paranoid episodes
—Hallucinations
—Suicidal ideations
—Physical and mental exhaustion
—Impaired heart and respiratory functions
—Skin lesions on the hands and lips due to the method of consumption

Where to go for help?
—Addiction and Mental Health Hotline: 866-332-2322

This 24-hour, seven-days-a-week service is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of nurses, psychiatric nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and psychologists.

—Crowsnest Pass Addiction Clinic: 403-562-5041
—Crowsnest Pass Mental Health Clinic: 403-562-3222
—Pincher Creek Addiction and Mental Health Clinic: 403-627-1240