Cochranites who are looking to obtain a criminal record check can now apply online.

The Cochrane RCMP detachment is one of 11 across the province piloting the program.

Corporal Troy Savinkoff says that having the online option is not only ideal for COVID-19 health and safety reasons, but it's also a convenient and efficient option.

"One of the few positives we can take away from COVID is the fact that it kind of push started a lot of businesses, organizations and Government parts to work online," says Savinkoff. "It reinforces the fact that technology plays a large part in our lives and we have the ability to utilize it and make things a bit simpler."

Savinkoff says that the Cochrane detachment conducts a number of criminal record checks daily, to determine if a person has been charged or convicted of a crime. 

"At our detachment, we do have a very large amount of criminal record checks that get done on a daily basis," explains Savinkoff. "People need criminal record checks for employment services and volunteering. I'm a parent too, who also gets a criminal record check to volunteer at the schools so I also see the same benefit that everyone else would."

Vulnerable sector checks (VSC) are included in the online service, in which a thorough police information check is completed to protect children and vulnerable people from physical, sexual, mental, and financial abuse.

The online service will be processed within the same timeframe as the usual in-person service, and results will be mailed to the applicant unless in-person arrangements have been made.

In addition to the Cochrane RCMP detachment, the pilot program is currently only available in Bashaw, Consort, Drayton Valley, Drumheller, Grande Prairie, Provost, St. Albert, St. Paul, Sundre, and Sylvan Lake. 

Savinkoff says that if this online service option is successful, it will be expanded to other locations.

"I think this is one of many things we can look at to streamline our approaches and reduce the amount of staff that we need to look at stuff like that," says Savinkoff. "That staff can then be utilized for other things and help us stay on top of what we really want to be doing -- which is fighting crime in the community."

Cochranites can now access online criminal record checks here.