ESTEVAN - The Estevan RCMP has been busier than normal to start the year, thanks to the weather and protests.
Sgt. Steven Ross said the blizzard that struck the southeast in late January and early February resulted in more than two dozen calls in one night.
They were not as busy for the snowstorms that slammed the region in April.
“The first one in April, we might have had two or three calls related to it, and with the second one, I don’t even know if we had a call that was specifically related to the snowstorm, or people being in the ditch as a result of it.”
The first storm in particular received a lot of attention before it hit, and Ross believes people heeded the warnings.
The RCMP also had to tend to the protests that happened in January and February regarding the provincial and federal COVID-19 mandates. An added police presence was seen in the North Portal and Northgate areas for protests during the Family Day long weekend.
People were well-behaved at those gatherings.
“Our presence was more of a preventative measure than anything. We wanted to be prepared in case there was a larger event like what happened in Ottawa. We wanted to try to avoid that as much as we could,” said Ross.
The RCMP has had a number of other investigations. They laid charges for a few cases of illegal tobacco. Ross said that crime is becoming more common.
“We’ve laid charges in three or maybe four possession of illegal tobacco investigations. It’s been in larger quantities, too. The biggest one was 125 cartons of illegal cigarettes.”
People were from Canada and apprehended locally, rather than trying to smuggle cigarettes across the Canada-U.S. border.
The RCMP has also laid charges in connection with property crimes.
“There was a bunch of stolen property recovered that was associated to a number of reported break and enters in both the Estevan detachment area and the Carnduff detachment area,” said Ross.
The RCMP has also responded to its traditional assortment of calls and infractions, ranging from traffic tickets to impaired drivers, and vandalism to assaults. Not of the calls have happened more often than normal.
It’s been quiet lately, but Ross is expecting activity levels to pick up in the coming weeks, especially since activities can happen as they used to without COVID restrictions.
“I would anticipate there will be likely more driving complaints. The winter sometimes limits those because the driving conditions aren’t good, but the summer the driving conditions are usually favourable,” said Ross.
There are also more vehicles on the roads in the summer.
With camping season and more people travelling on vacations, there are more break and enters and property thefts occurring. Once seeding season starts, they get a few thefts from tractors in the fields.
The Estevan RCMP currently has seven officers, with Ross, a corporal and five constables, so the detachment is fully staffed. There is also a detachment services assistant who does a lot of the administrative work and provides some dispatching services.
Ross arrived in the community last October, and he and his family have been welcomed everywhere they have gone. His kids have become involved in extracurricular activities, which has helped with their adjustment.
He also looks forward to spending more time out in the community. He attended a number of village and RM council meetings, and he spoke at a recent ratepayers’ annual meeting for the RM of Browning.
“With the weather getting better and more activities starting to happen, we’re actually looking for opportunities for things to stop in at, or participate in, as we’re able,” he said.
If any communities have planned events, the RCMP would like to know so they can make an appearance.