Police plan west country patrols throughout summer
As the Sundre RCMP officers and their enforcement partners get ready for a five-day May long weekend enforcement blitz starting on May 17, officials have announced the launch of a new summer-long West Country police patrol program.
New funding has been approved to conduct ATV and other vehicle patrols of the west county area all the way to the Banff National Park boundary, said Sundre RCMP Cpl. Ryan Hodge.
“We’ll be targeting all areas frequented by visitors throughout the summer,” said Hodge. “The more people realize we are on patrol in those areas, the more they will realize that there is law out there.”
The new patrol program will get underway in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, all officers at the Sundre RCMP detachment, as well as additional RCMP members being brought in from other detachments, will be taking part in an extensive enforcement blitz this upcoming Victoria Day long weekend, he said.
The blitz will include checkstops and random stops looking for drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs, vehicle insurance and registration checks, and liquor infractions.
“The big message we want everyone to get is that it’s not a free-for-all out there and that the laws apply,” said Sundre RCMP Sgt. Percy Leipnitz. “If you are breaking the law, you are going to be charged.”
He said excessive drinking of alcohol will be a particular target of the enforcement blitz in an attempt to stop the fights and other rowdy behaviour seen in previous years.
“It’s a safety issue for everyone,” he said.
Officers will also be inspecting off-highway vehicles to ensure they have the required safety equipment.
RCMP members will be joined by sheriff staff, county and municipal peace officers, and others during the blitz.
In an effort to curtail the vast amount of littering that has blanketed the West Country during previous May long weekends, officers will be visiting campsites and photographing vehicle licence plates, said Cpl. Hodge.
In other police news, the Sundre RCMP detachment is planning to continue going after local drivers found violating new distracted driving rules.
Over the past weeks, officers have continued to observe people driving while talking on cellphones or texting, including in the Sundre schools zone.
He calls this behaviour potentially very dangerous and something police plan to target on an ongoing basis.
Meanwhile, Sundre RCMP officers responded to 219 calls for service in the detachment area in April.
Of those, 25 were for motor vehicle collisions, including five involving off-highway vehicles.
Charges in April included three for disqualified driving, three for driving with no insurance, 19 for other traffic violations such as running stop signs, three for impaired driving, and three 24-hour suspensions.
Police laid two drug related Criminal Code charges, as well as four other criminal charges.
Police processed 29 criminal record checks, and responded to one missing person complaint, one false alarm, and one abandoned vehicle call.
A recent one-day RCMP traffic services operation in town resulted in nine seatbelt charges.