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LETTER: A warm welcome to St. Albert's new RCMP Inspector

"Overall, this community wants to work with the RCMP for the safety of everyone, protection of our property, efficient use of your precious resources, and as much cooperation as possible to achieve those goals."
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Welcome (back) to St. Albert, RCMP Inspector Ryan Comaniuk.

As you know, you’re joining a community that has a great deal of interest in our police service. Many community members have been engaged in working toward the mutual goal of having the most effective, responsive and engaged policing service possible. Indeed, city council has formalized a mechanism for that sincere engagement, provided a great deal of administrative support to make it work, and understands the value of a good working relationship between our police service and our community.

As the new OIC, there are a few localized issues that you should be aware of.

Recent traffic studies have indicated that 50 per cent of collisions on Boudreau Rd. have a causation factor of ‘rear end’ collision. On the St. Albert Trail, it’s worse at 56 per cent. You would probably agree that the majority of those kinds of collisions are attributed to ‘follow too close’, ‘driving without due care and attention’, or ‘distracted driving’. Policing experience and a simple observation of traffic along those roadways will support that distracted driving is a huge factor in the causation of those collisions. Cell phone usage (amongst other distracted behaviours) is rampant.

We know that it is quite possible for a single officer to write 800 distracted driving summonses a year. That equates to four per working shift (assuming 200/yr). When we see that our entire detachment writes less than 50 distracted driving summonses in a three month span, it’s easy to conclude that enforcement could be stepped up. Many collisions and associated injuries would be eliminated if serious attention was given to enforcement of those basic driving rules on our major roadways.

You will hear regularly that our citizens want to see more officers out and about, making themselves available and visible. It’s an important confidence builder for the community, who want to help support our police as much as possible. That connection will be made much easier if we can personally engage your officers more frequently. We want to be able to approach them while they are driving through our neighbourhoods, parked in public areas (perhaps doing reports), conducting enforcement or investigating the variety of occurrences which occur in our city.

There are other matters of concern that will be addressed as you establish your presence in St Albert. But overall, this community wants to work with the RCMP for the safety of everyone, protection of our property, efficient use of your precious resources, and as much cooperation as possible to achieve those goals.

Most of all, we warmly welcome you and your family to our community.

Al Bohachyk, St. Albert