New commander at the RCMP helm in Bassano

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SANDRA M STANWAY
Brooks Bulletin

The Bassano RCMP detachment will have five pairs of boots on the ground by the end of the summer.
Sgt. Joe Schmidt, has taken on the role of detachment commander in Bassano, and he will be joined by four constables.
“Right now we’re training two (Bassano) recruits in Brooks and we have one permanent member and one that will return from medical leave,” he said.
The previous commander is on paternity leave and is not be counted as one of the officers at the detachment.
The detachment has been part of hubbing with Gleichen and Brooks RCMP assisting over the past few years as the detachment has not been properly staffed and some concerns have been raised about policing in the community.
“Right now, because of the resource crunch we’ve been under they’ve been hubbed and amalgamated with Brooks, so we have a Bassano member on every watch. The difference is rather than on call where there is no coverage from midnight until 6 a.m., there’s been 24/7 coverage,” he said.
He said that coverage has not only allowed late night and early morning patrols of the rural areas of Gem, Hussar and Rosemary but a supervisor is also available.
“There has been a rash of stolen vehicles in the past few months of which most have ended up in Bassano.”
One vehicle theft incident saw a vehicle stolen from Tilley, dumped in Brooks, another stolen and dumped in Bassano where another was stolen.
“There’s a lot of property crime rings happening and they target the rural areas. Our patrols have been going out at night.”
“Everything has been staffed appropriately. Yes, we wish we were in a better resource situation, however, we’re getting an influx of recruits, we’re hopefully getting a couple of lateral transfers shortly. We’ve just had some promotions in Brooks so we’ve been working with Bassano to be able to meet that coverage for everybody’s needs.
“We’re pushed but we’re able to hold up.”
Whether the detachment will be hubbed permanently with Brooks or be a standalone detachment is still likely to get some traction this year.
“The current goal is to have Bassano remain as a standalone operation, however, as operations, personnel and injuries dictate we’ll do whatever we need to meet those needs all the time.
“I can ensure you that there will be more consistent coverage and oversight in the leadership role in Bassano from this point forward,” said Schmidt.