Skip to content

Langager new Sarge in Charge

The newest face at the Outlook RCMP detachment these days is actually someone who originally called the Lake Diefenbaker area home. Sgt.

The newest face at the Outlook RCMP detachment these days is actually someone who originally called the Lake Diefenbaker area home.

Sgt. Mark Langager, who was posted to Outlook at the end of this past November, has been on the force for 17 years, and he became interested in a career in law enforcement at an early age.

“I grew up on a farm outside of Strongfield and went to school in Loreburn,” he said, sitting down with this reporter in his office.  “When I was playing junior hockey, I lived with an RCMP officer that got me interested.”

In his years on the force, Sgt. Langager has been posted to a number of different communities and detachments, gaining valuable experience and learning what it takes and what it means to be a police officer in the province.

“Foam Lake, Fond-du-Lac, Cumberland House, Punnichy, and Swift Current city and rural detachments,” said Mark, listing where he’s worked.  “Swift Current, my last spot, would be the longest.  I was there for six years.”

So far, Langager says the community has been great in the two months that he’s been in Outlook.

“It’s very accepting, I was accepted by people right away, and they’re friendly,” he said.  “They’re also helpful in us doing our duty, and they’re also inviting outside in the community, as I’ve been accepted to a hockey team, and there are other events in the community where I’ve been welcomed to.  It’s very nice.”

The Outlook detachment works closely with the Elbow RCMP to service the regional area, and Langager says working to reach the desired number of officers means reaching a sufficient amount who could help cover the area and increase service standards.

“Including me, there are four officers right now, which means we’re one short, and we have three posted in Elbow,” he said.  “Eight is a sufficient number, and we don’t want to drop below that, otherwise we notice that our coverage and service standards can decrease.”

In the last one to two years, crime such as vehicle break-ins and thefts has seemed to be on the rise in Outlook and the surrounding area.  Langager says that typically, the perpetrators in these incidents tend to be people who are traveling through the area and commit crime through the night before making sure they’re gone by morning.  He says that there’s a degree of difficulty in catching criminals who operate that way.

“A number of the thefts in the area recently had to do with a number of transient people traveling through the area,” said Mark.  “Whether they come from out of the city, or even out of the province, it seems to be just traveling criminals.  We just need people to help us be aware of where these people are and when they’re in the area.  It’s a little harder for us when you have a traveling criminal that travels through and is here in the night and breaks into a vehicle or steals a vehicle, and then they’re gone.  So a majority of them are from outside the detachment area.”

When incidents such as vehicles getting stolen or broken into, or even local businesses being smashed into and robbed, it makes many people believe that the image of the safe, small town environment where ‘everybody trusts everybody’ and no one locks their doors is tarnished.  However, Langager believes that communities such as Outlook are just as safe now as they were years ago, touching on the immediacy factor of how news gets spread by way of the internet and social media, whereas that wasn’t available a generation ago.

“I believe that they’re just as safe as they used to be,” he said.  “With the way that crime stats are reported through us and the media, they’re more readily available.  People hear more about the crime now, whereas 30 years ago you might not have heard what happened in Dinsmore if you’re from Outlook, but nowadays you hear more about these things because people are bombarded with what’s going on.”

One of the hot-button topics permeating through Outlook right now is the issue of speeding down residential streets and neighborhoods, with the problem recently being brought to Outlook’s town council by Douglass Street resident Scarlett Elliott.  Langager says a lot of times, people may gather the impression that the RCMP aren’t “doing anything” about the issue, but he says the relationship between the police and the people they serve is something of a two-way street; in order for them to respond to a particular problem, they need people to pick up the phone and make a formal call.

“If people are caught breaking any provincial driving law, we’ll charge them unless we see fit to warn them,” said Mark.  “A lot of instances where people aren’t charged, we still have enough evidence to lay the charge.  A lot of times, people will call us on Monday when people are squealing tires or speeding through the street, and we’ll go have a look for them, and if we don’t find them, then people have the impression that we didn’t do anything, whether they’re right or wrong.  And then if there’s some more action on the streets at night, they might not even bother calling us when we’d appreciate getting that call.  If we get two or three calls a day, we don’t mind that because we don’t always know when people are out causing problems.  We really rely on people making those calls.”

In the past, Outlook has had different variations of the programs known as Citizens On Patrol and Rural Crime Watch.  As far as re-introducing something like that to the community now, Mark says it depends on how those programs are run, because they have a tendency to burn out on both sides of the ‘Works/Doesn’t Work’ scale.

“There have been a number of different and successful Citizens On Patrol or Rural Crime Watch programs,” he said.  “It all depends on the interest in the community, and where a number of these program actually fail is when they’re *too* efficient; when people are out keeping an eye out and watching and reporting crime, and crime goes down, then they believe there’s no use for the program anymore.  So if we did have them in Outlook and we only had two or three incidents reported to us in a month through Citizens On Patrol, they might think that it’s not worthwhile, whereas the visibility might be the cause of the decrease in crime.”

Among the goals that Sgt. Langager has for his detachment, keeping a strong visibility in the community is key, as is traffic and tending to youth matters.

“Both traffic and police visibility are top priorities of ours,” he said.  “We want to be visible in all the communities that we serve.  Youth is also a priority of ours, as well as crime reduction in all avenues, and that includes drugs in both the provincial and Criminal Code offences.  We also have a number of initiatives in those categories, but those are our general priorities.”

For Mark, the best thing about serving as an RCMP officer is working to hopefully make a difference in someone’s life, no matter how big or small of an impact.

“The best thing for me is to try and make a difference in peoples’ lives,” he said.  “It doesn’t happen every day, but when I can help somebody out or one of my guys can help somebody out, that’s why I joined.”