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Maple Creek RCMP detachment facing staff shortage again

Posted on April 19, 2022 by Maple Creek

The Maple Creek RCMP detachment will soon be down to three members.
Three officers are leaving at the end of this month: Constables Anaztazia Inkster, Adam Euloth and Adam Helgeson. It is understood that Cst. Inkster will be moving to Canoe Lake, Saskatchewan, while Cst. Euloth is returning east, from where he originates.
Corporal Doug Lachapelle, who has relocated to Moose Jaw, left in October, 2021. His position has yet to be filled.
The three remaining will be Sgt. John Phipps, the detachment commander, Cst. Marc-Antoine Huard, and Cst. Tyler Lane. At its full strength, the detachment has seven members.
Sgt. Phipps spoke on the latest RCMP staffing shortage after answering a question on manpower from Councillor Len Barkman at the April 12 Town Council meeting.
“It’s something that is causing me a little bit of stress,” he said, adding: “I have a triple farewell party next week because I have got three leaving at the end of this month.
“That will leave us with three, myself and two constables. Our staffing unit has told us that they have got one that they will be sending our way hopefully soon, but soon is a relative term.
“I don’t know if that will be next month or in two months … As far as the other positions, I haven’t heard anything about them yet.”
Michelle McKenzie, the Mayor, asked about the corporal position.
Sgt. Phipps said the vacancy had been posted and attracted several applicants.
“None of the applicants was successful. So, they are currently seeking someone for the position right now. I haven’t heard when that will be done.”
Sgt. Phipps’ comments came after he delivered the 4th quarter report for the 2021-22 fiscal year, which ended on March 31.
There were 102 occurrences – the lowest that Sgt. Phipps had seen in the seven years in Maple Creek.
“Typically, in the 4th quarter you see 125 to 150 occurrences,” he said. “So, we are down about 15, 18 per cent, something like that this year, which is a good thing.
“We didn’t see any unusual spikes in any particular type of crime or any trends that developed, so that’s also a good thing.”
The latest quarterly figures for January-March 2022 showed:
Sexual assaults/interference: Nil; Assaults (Spousal/other): 8; wilful damage/vandalism: 10; Break and enter: 2; Thefts: Nil; Impaired driving/Over 0.08 per cent: Nil; Disturbing the peace: 2; Fail to comply with conditions: 10; Other Criminal Code offences: 14;
Possession of drugs: 2; Trafficking: Nil
Liquor offences/driving suspensions: Nil; Other: Nil;
Accidents: 2; Complaints/Charges laid: 12;
Request to locate/missing person: 4; Sudden deaths: Nil; Assist general public/other agency: 12; By-laws: Nil; Other (False alarms, 911 calls, Mental Health Act, fires, family relations etc.): 24;
Total occurrences: 102
Councillor Cara Teichroeb asked what factors could explain the very low numbers.
Sgt. Phipps said several so-called “prolific offenders” were incarcerated.
“Typically, those individuals generate a substantial percentage of the files over the course of the year. So, that is one factor.”
The COVID-19 pandemic could be another factor, he said.
Mayor and Council also raised the issue of the April 5 spring storm.
Councillor Betty Abbott asked about weather-related fire alarms.
Sgt. Phipps said statistics on fire would be included in the next report because the storm occurred during the new fiscal year.
“How did you and your members fare over the last week or so?” asked Councillor Tina Cresswell.
“Quite well,” Sgt. Phipps said. “Of course, we were inundated with calls as everyone was with what went on. We responded to as many as we could given the conditions that we were facing.
“We got up to the highway occasionally. A lot of the roads during the storm were not accessible, just due to blockages, by vehicles or by the snow and the wind. There were no injuries to any of the people that were involved in any of the collisions. Of course, there were no deaths. We really didn’t have any issues dealing with the calls. We were able to get to what we needed to get to.”
Councillor Barkman asked about the RCMP’s role in road closures.
Sgt. Phipps said the RCMP assist with putting up barricades, stopping traffic, and ensuring everyone is safe until a detour is put in place. However, officers do not stay at the scene to monitor road closures.
He added that the RCMP would notify the highways department if it believed a road should be closed.

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