‘Year of transition’ for local RCMP

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

RCMP Staff Sgt. Chris Murphy brought town council up to date last week on some of the latest news from the detachment.
“This is the year of transition,” Murphy said, adding that three transferred officers have been able to sell their houses in the past few weeks. That means they’ll be moving directly, and their replacements will likely be rookies out of ‘Depot,’ in Regina. The three leaving are Zanbak, Robertson and James. A couple of others – including Murphy himself – are also on the move, pending house sales.
Murphy told council the “fairly lengthy” process of finding a new commanding officer for the Slave Lake detachment has begun. Council will have a chance to interview the proposed candidate at some point, he said.
As far as crime trends go, Murphy said family violence, which has been rising for some time, appears to have “plateaued,” according to recent statistics. On the other hand, property crimes show no signs of slacking. That said, Murphy said the successful recent apprehension of five people seems to have put a dent in the number of calls. Targeting habitual offenders is a part of the effort to reduce those numbers. And by ‘targeting’ Murphy was not just referring to arresting and charging. There’s a multi-agency effort to try to steer some of these people away from their criminal lifestyle.
Road safety will continue to be a focus of the detachment, with a particular concentration on distracted driving. People don’t seem to be getting the message on that, Murphy said.
“It’s very dangerous; there have been many accidents and some fatalities.”
Murphy was asked if he anticipates any challenges relating to the impending legalization of marijuana.
“I know there’s a lot of talk at high levels,” he said.
At this level, some members have some training in recognizing impairment by marijuana. Whether there is or will be a reliable measuring instrument (the equivalent of the breathalyzer) by next year, he isn’t sure.
Councillors concluded the session by thanking Murphy for his years of good service to the community and wishing him the best in his new posting.

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