RCMP take questions on recruitment, amalgamation, drugs and missing people

Moosomin RCMP Town Hall

April 8, 2024, 11:34 am
Kara Kinna

Sgt. Damien Grouchy speaking at the Moosomin RCMP Town Hall Meeting on March 28.

Moosomin RCMP held a Town Hall Meeting at the Legion Hall in Moosomin on Thursday, March 28.

Some of the topics that Moosomin RCMP Sgt. Damien Grouchy touched on were staffing levels, the types of calls for service that are most common in the Moosomin Detachment area, and Moosomin RCMP’s temporary amalgamation with the Broadview Detachment. There was also some discussion about drug usage and emergency alerts, especially in terms of missing people.

In terms of recruiting, Grouchy said the Moosomin Detachment currently has two vacancies, including the Corporal position, which they are hoping to fill within the next 3-4 months.

He says the detachment is also looking for guards right now, so that people lodged in cells at the detachment have oversight.

From January 1, 2022 to January 1, 2023 the Moosomin Detachment responded to 2,193 calls, and from January 1, 2023 to January 1, 2024 the detachment responded to 2,692 calls.

“Due to our shortage of resources, Broadview and Moosomin Detachments have amalgamated resources,” he told people gathered at the meeting. “Due to this amalgamation, Broadview members can respond to calls in Moosomin, and vice versa. We’ll always try to have members in both areas, but when serious matters happen, all members will respond.

“If something big is happening in Broadview, we will all go there, if something big is happening here, we’ll all come here.

“An example of that here was the gun call we had a little while ago (in Moosomin). We closed down the street and all members came from Broadview and we also had members from Esterhazy, they came as well. That turned out to be false, there were never any firearms involved in that complaint, and the person who called it in was charged with public mischief, but we acted as serious as it could be and I got the information out to the World-Spectator as soon as we were finished to let them know there was no risk to the public.

“With the amalgamation we are still two separate entities. The only thing we share is resources, so we share the workload for files.

“In the newly created Broadview Moosomin Detachment area, there will be between five to seven members on shift at a time. The amalgamation will continue until September, and at that time it will be reassessed to see if it needs to be expanded or terminated.

“I’m hoping that by September we will be back to near full staff so that we will be on our own, but if that’s not the case, we will have to extend the temporary amalgamation a little bit further.”

Grouchy said that there is a big push on right now by the RCMP for recruitment.

“RCMP shut down depot during Covid and are still trying to recoup from that. We are spending more time and money recruiting and hiring, more than ever, and if you know anyone interested in joining, pass the word,” he said.

He said every year the detachment has an action plan, with a focus on key areas.

“Right now we focus on traffic initiatives, getting the impaired drivers off the road, visibility, crime reduction, and our youth,” he said.

Town councillor Greg Nosterud asked if fentanyl is becoming a problem in the community and if Moosomin RCMP have enough resources to handle it. “Are there enough people in the detachment to be able to do that job? Are we unusual or are we the norm?” he asked.

“Drugs have been around every detachment I’ve worked in over my 16 years of policing,” said Grouchy. “When I started it was more drugs like cannabis, but now it’s moving more into meth or fentanyl. Do we have enough members? Yes there are enough members to investigate because every time we get a complaint we investigate to the fullest. Our investigations are never compromised with resources, because if it’s any serious matter we give it full attention always, and if we need help from outside from our unit in Yorkton, I actually have some members coming down to set up a project just to cut down on some of the drug crime in the towns we cover.”

“With fentanyl and some of these super drugs, does that affect the crime rate, does it go up? Is that something you are noticing?” asked Nosterud.

“No,” said Grouchy, “there is a very small concentrated group that are using those kinds of drugs and it’s always those individuals that we deal with. Do I think that Moosomin is out of control with drug use, I don’t believe that for a second and the statistics don’t show that. I don’t think we’re different than some other towns our size would be. If we catch anyone with drugs or we learn that they have drugs, we do investigate it and that’s something we are actively working on all the time.”

“How are our speed signs doing around town, does it help?” asks councillor Garry Towler.

“They do good for the people that abide by the rules. I think everyone at times tends to have a little bit of a heavy foot. I know there are some digital signs up and they do slow people down a little bit,” said Grouchy.

In terms of recruitment, Councillor Murray Gray asked if Moosomin was a desirable community for RCMP officers to come to.

“I would think so. This is one of the best places I’ve worked in,” said Grouchy. “Moosomin is very nice, it has lots of amenities. In terms of crime, this is probably the lowest crime place I’ve worked with less crime overall. We like it here. The community is good, I’m always trying to promote it, but it’s hard to get people to move.”

There were also some questions at the meeting about having a plan for missing people.

“Do we have a clear and concise plan on missing people?” asked councillor Murray Gray. “We’ve had a few situations over the last three or four years where it seemed there was a misco-ordination between the fire department and RCMP for searching for people.”

“We have our own protocols obviously, but if we have a missing person that we need help trying to locate, I would call the fire department right away and get them to help us. I talked to (fire chief) Rob (Hanson) and he said any time they need us they will come out,” said Grouchy.

“I know going forward we’ll be utilizing the people on the department trained in search and rescue.”

DSA Lenora Greimann also pointed out that the RCMP’s Everbridge alert system has been useful in helping with missing people and crimes, and she encouraged people to sign up for it. She says it has been used to help direct RCMP members based on tips from the public.

“A lot of time I’ll contact the World-Spectator,” added Grouchy. “We had that youth that wandered off from the hospital and as soon as we put it out, within 15 or 20 minutes, someone called and said they had picked that person up.”

“The RCMP does have a good relationship with Kevin (Weedmark at the World-Spectator) and we do try to get as much information to him that we can,” added Griemann. “There is a lot of stuff we can’t share with the public because it’s not a public safety issue, so we have to be careful what we do share, but when it is a public safety issue, then thank you Kevin for getting stuff out for us.

“Even when we had a massive collision on the highway and we asked could he put something out because people are going home at 5 pm, and we didn’t want them to use that intersection because we have two semis and a car and people trying to rescue people.”

“I’d like to thank Kevin and Kara (Kinna) for doing such a good job for our community. Thank you for doing all that for keeping our community safe,” said councillor Garry Towler.

Griemann said any tips from the public are invaluable to the RCMP in public safety situations.

“If you think back to the James Smith Cree Nation incident, the public was very, very well informed, and if we believe there is a public safety issue, police will be releasing information because not only is it a public safety issue but the public can help the RCMP in their investigation and try to find things,” she said.

“Our detachment had three notifications about the car he was driving in that case, so a lot of stuff we rely on the public for too because they have more eyes than we do, we only have a few members, a lot of times we can’t see everything.”

The meeting concluded with councillor Greg Nosterud saying he thought the town hall meeting was good for the community and he thanked the RCMP for holding it.