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    Community input sought in setting policing priorities

    Chestermere’s RCMP are looking for feedback from residents as they work on setting their policing priorities for the next year.
    “It’s important is to consider our citizens perception of crime and where they would like their dedicated police force to focus their efforts,” said Chestermere RCMP Detachment Commander Staff Sgt. Mark Wielgosz.
    He said that in preparing the priorities for the upcoming fiscal year that runs from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019 he follows the RCMP strategic priorities as set at the national and divisional levels as well as taking both local crime data and resident feedback into account.
    “At the end of the day we’re here to serve the citizens of Chestermere,” he said.
    “We’re on a dedicated contract to the city of Chestermere to provide policing services and we’ll do so to the best of our ability,” said Wielgosz.
    While they may not be able to include every resident concern and priority in the policing plan for the coming year, Wielgosz said that it is valuable for the RCMP to know what residents’ perception of crime is in the community.
    “With that input I’m able to put together a more collaborative and transparent process into developing our priorities and what it is we are going to do to…achieve them,” he said.
    Over the past year, the prevention of property crimes and enforcement of road safety have been the two main priorities of the detachment.
    Wielgosz said that these two areas are likely to continue being the police’s highest priorities.
    “I can say at this point in time property crimes still remains among our highest priorities based on what our criminal call volume is concerned and what’s mainly affecting our residents,” he said.
    “We may not see much change in where our focus has been,” said Wielgosz, “how we accomplish our priorities or what activities we put in place may change based on some reassessment of what we’ve been doing.”
    For his part, Chestermere’s Mayor Marshall Chalmers said that the current policing priorities have been in alignment with what he heard from resident’s on the campaign trail in the fall.
    “When you take a look at the issues they’ve identified that they want to work on they were bang on as to what I heard when I was campaigning and what the issues are,” said Chalmers.
    “So I’m extremely pleased to see that…that’s meshing up,” he said.
    Council’s goal where it comes to policing is to continue to promote and nurture a safe community.
    “We always like to try and do better in the area of crime prevention but that…everything comes back to resources we’re pleased to see what they’re doing,” said Chalmers.
    As part of their continuing push to improve communication between residents and council, Chalmers said that he’d, “be more than happy if they e-mailed me their thoughts.”
    And feedback on policing received by council will be forwarded to Wielgosz.
    In addition to seeking feedback from the public, Wielgosz has also been speaking with city council, the chamber of commerce, the police communication committee and local schools.
    Wielgosz’s goal is to have the consultation process completed before the end of the Month so that the new plan will be ready for April 1.
    “So by April 1 I want to have our members actively working on our new priorities and working towards accomplishing what our objectives are,” he said.
    Anyone wanting to provide input can either contact a member of city council or Wielgosz directly by calling the detachment.
    “We encourage people to throw us their thoughts,” said Chalmers.