Red Deer RCMP Superintendent Ken Foster has now been on the job for a year and has seen success in multiple avenues of municipal policing in the city.
“It has been a very busy year,” he said. “We are trying to employ and put into place new, innovating and interesting ideas on policing. Criminals move very quickly, they don’t have processes and they don’t have to follow rules. It is hard to react to that.”
One of the methods which has proved useful is Pinpoint, which is the use of advanced analytics and data analysis to prioritize policing.
“Crime is still inching upwards, but at a much slower rate than it was prior to Pinpoint. That is a positive and I think we will soon get over the peak and then it will start coming down,” he said.
Foster said Pinpoint helps the RCMP make up for a lack of infinite resources. This allows policing to also be more advantageous to the tax payer.
Foster has also looked to create a positive public perception of the RCMP in Red Deer.
“I am very focused on service to the public and trying to go above and beyond to create a culture here with all of our officers here at the detachment and our municipal employees,” he said. “I have been out in the public as much as I can and I strongly encourage our officers to be present at events like parades and other things like that.
“A lot of people don’t understand that our officers raise their officers here in this community, they are part of this community and we all have the same interests.”
Foster said public engagement can be difficult due to the nature of crime.
“The public perception and public expectations are often different than the realities. That has been very challenging to try to engage the public in those conversations and try to get the message out,” he said.
Property crime remains a difficult challenge in Red Deer due to the downturn of the economy and other factors like addiction.
“The reality is that we do about 55,000 calls for service here, and showing up to every one is not that easy. Property crime continues to be a driver right across the province,” he said.
The legalization of cannabis in Canada will be a challenge in 2018 for police services across the country, according to Foster.
“There will be impacts on time, and retail outlets for marijuana will be targets of property crime and armed robbery, much like liquor stores sometimes are. There will be pressures on the policing industry, no question about it. It concerns me,” he said.
He added there is no easy solution for solving crime, but he praised his officers and staff for the work they have done so far.
“The thing that struck me when I got here is just how dedicated the folks are here,” he said. “They are out there working hard and the work they are dong is very inspiring to me. They are engaged and in the game. The processes are in place and if we give them the tools to do their job, that is the future in how we will solve some of these crimes.”