By J.W. Schnarr
Westwind Weekly News
A staffing shortage with the RCMP Raymond/Magrath means local police are making an increased effort to ensure proper police coverage to the region, according to the local detachment commander.
Sgt. Kelly McCoy of the Raymond/Magrath RCMP appeared as a delegation before Stirling council during their regular meeting on Nov. 16 to provide updates to regional and local policing statistics and to provide an update on staffing issues currently being experienced by the department.
McCoy said a member has transferred out of the detachment and that a replacement officer has been assigned from the detachment in Morinville. However, that officer is currently trying to sell his home, which has caused a delay in the transfer.
“He’s finding the market pretty poor right now,” said McCoy.
McCoy said he expected the officer to arrive at the Raymond Detachment at some point in the New Year.
A cadet who was assigned earlier in the year to replace another outgoing officer has reported what McCoy said was a “fairly serious medical issue” and is currently on light duty and working in the office.
“He is out of the game, so to speak, and I don’t know when he will be back,” said McCoy, adding he is currently working on finding a replacement for the cadet in order to fill the detachment roster.
“They are working on that now,” he said. “Hopefully we can get somebody in the new year.” He noted housing has been arranged for when a replacement is found, and that he expected a quick transition.
“I’m crossing my fingers so that we hear, by the New Year, what is going on.”
McCoy said he wanted to let local residents know that they may see a lighter police presence while the detachment deals with their staffing issues.
“Just a bit of a heads up to the communities,” he said. “You may see a little less of the guys because we have two less bodies to work with. We’re kind of covering.
“If we don’t get someone to come in here permanently, hopefully we can get an interim transition with someone who can come and help us out for a little while.”
McCoy asked council to contact the detachment if they started hearing concerns from their residents so that police could address the situation.
“We’re going to do our best to keep our head above water, and, so far, the guys are treading water pretty good,” he said.
McCoy said nearby RCMP detachments are more than willing to pitch in to cover any gaps as needed.
“Everybody is good at pitching in and helping out,” he said.