St. Albert RCMP has a new acting commanding officer for the time being as the detachment's officer in charge, Insp. Ryan Comaniuk, has taken an extended leave of absence as of early last month.
Taking over for Comaniuk on a temporary basis is Staff Sgt. Dwayne Moore, the officer in charge of the Breton and Thorsby RCMP detachments in southwestern Alberta.
Cpl. Troy Savinkoff with the RCMP's K Division in Edmonton said Moore comes to St. Albert with an extensive background in policing and will be in good position to fill Comaniuk's role for the time being.
“He has an extensive amount of front-line policing background and he will be a good temporary fit to fill the large shoes left behind by Insp. Comaniuk,” Savinkoff said. “We don't have a date at this time as far as how long this transition will happen, but [at the] St. Albert detachment any initiatives that were already in place through Comaniuk will continue under Moore's fine leadership.”
“We expect no change in operational policing during this time frame.”
Savinkoff said it is quite common for detachments to have acting commanders from time to time as the role's importance means it can never be vacant.
“As people or members get transferred around the province to different areas, or go on leave, that's a very important position so the RCMP will always set up appropriate people into those positions in any kind of absence,” he said. “It happens all the time within any police district and in any police force; it's just such an important position, it can't be left vacant.”
“Quite often, not always but quite often, we'll reach from outside the detachment just to make sure that there's a strong leader who is put into place in during those temporary absences.”
Moore declined the Gazette's interview request, however Ponoka News reported in 2021 that prior to taking over as commander in Breton and Thorsby, Moore was stationed in Maskwacis, as well as Leduc and Edson. According to the Ponoka News report, Moore has just under 20 years of experience with the RCMP.
In an email, city of St. Albert spokesperson Kathy DeJong said the city is looking forward to working with Moore while Comaniuk is away.
Comaniuk took over as St. Albert's commanding officer in January of 2021.
Moore takes over the St. Albert detachment while nearly 20 per cent of officers (13) are currently on medical or parental leave, and since the detachment isn't able to hire replacement officers, the RCMP has had to pull back on proactive and community policing efforts in order to ensure that enough officers are able to respond to and follow-up on calls.
Last week, in an effort to try and manage the staffing issue, city council unanimously approved a five-officer increase to the detachment's authorized force, meaning the city is asking the federal government to assign an additional five officers to St. Albert.
However, council heard that it could take more than a year for the detachment to be assigned any additional officers.