County wants increased policing in rural areas

Ponoka RCMP staff sergeant Cameron Chisholm recently visited Ponoka County council in an effort to align the detachment’s goals

Ponoka RCMP staff sergeant Cameron Chisholm recently visited Ponoka County council in an effort to align the detachment’s goals with the county’s priorities.

Chisholm told councillors assaults in the area jumped from 13 to 21 in one year, from 2013 to 2014. “Most of them are actually domestic violence matters.”

Arsons in the county also rose from one incident to five.

Many of the property offences committed are drug related and Chisholm says outsiders passing through the county are behind most of the cases. “Drugs and crime go hand in hand,” he said.

In the coming year, Chisholm’s goal for the detachment is to crack down of meth traffickers and repeat offenders, he feels this should line up with county needs.

“When I look at what’s going on, it kind of passes over what’s going on the in county,” said Chisholm.

“The theory is if you focus on those folks . . . you’ll have a crime reduction,” he added.

Reeve Paul McLauchlin voiced it is the property offenses he is finding as one of the largest concerns of the ratepayers.

Correspondingly, visibility seems to be one of the most prominent needs on the county’s radar. “Visibility is very important,” said county peace officer Les Squires, who was sitting in the audience for the meeting.

“We need a lot more people for sure,” agreed county CAO Charlie Cutforth.