It was a historic year for the Cochrane RCMP that saw the local detachment move out of their outgrown space and into a new $23-million, 40,000 square foot building. 

Detachment Commander, Insp. Dave Brunner says moving into the new Protective Services building was a high point of the year. 

"The feedback from not only the people that work in this building, but the people that attend to get services either from municipal enforcement or ourselves, is very positive. I think this building is something the community can be very proud of and certainly the Town has looked into the future, as Cochrane is one of the fastest growing communities in Alberta, if not Canada that this building will meet policing needs well into the future."

The building also houses Cochrane Municipal Enforcement and Cochrane and Area Victim Services. 

RCMP ribbon cutting A ribbon cutting ceremony was held in July at the new Cochrane Protective Services building 

"Another kind of unexpected highlight that kind of popped up was Stoney Nakoda Nation, designated a parcel of land and we've had it blessed and had some preliminary work done on that for the new police services building that will eventually be built there." 

Brunner says a firm timeline for that project has not yet been set. 

"I'm hoping sooner rather than later as we provide service to 6000 people on the Stoney Nakoda Nation. It's been needed for a long time, and we're hoping that we can make that happen."

Approximately 15-20 local RCMP members travelled to communities including Grande Prairie and Fox Lake on their days off to help in the summer months while massive wildfires raged throughout the region.  

"I think one of the major challenges were all the fires that we had this summer and trying to support the areas that were in need and find some relief for members to go up there and help them out. That was a big challenge. We wanted to maintain our numbers to police our own community, but also help out." 

"There was a lot of communities and a lot of members that pitched in and helped out. But when you have something that devastating with so many communities being evacuated, you have the initial evacuation, but then you also have the security once everybody leaves that community that we have to look after. So they're huge undertakings, and they're something that unfortunately, we're kind of getting good at."

"If we continue to see the brown out there, summer 2024 could be the carbon copy of summer 2023."

Cochrane RCMP received nearly 17,000 calls for service in 2022 and Brunner says right now they're at over 15,000.

Officers responded to approximately 1800 less calls for service in 2023 when compared to the same time in 2022. 

Brunner notes a drop in mental health calls, with 490 last year, and 380 so far this year. 

"We're about 120 calls less and some of that can be attributed to the fully operational unit that we have, the Regional Police and Crisis Team (RPACT) that's housed in this building. So what that is an AHS Nurse with training in crisis and psychiatric care, working with RCMP members, and so they take the lead on a lot of our mental health calls and we've seen a lot of innovation in how we deal with that. We used to just go in, and this person is having a mental health crisis, they're arrested and taken to a hospital in Calgary. Now with the nurse, and in that unit, we can put them in touch and they can do some assessments in the field and not everyone necessarily needs to go to the hospital. So it's good for us, it's good for the patient, and it's good for Alberta health care in their hospitals aren't getting plugged up with people in their emergency room."

"I think we've been fairly steady. When you look at our crime rates, believe it or not, our persons crimes have gone down, our property crimes have gone up and I think you see that across the board when there's lots of economic bust. There's a lot of construction and a lot of opportunities for thefts and break and enters."

Cochrane saw a 21 per cent decrease in persons crimes from January to August 2023 compared to the same time in 2022. 

Meanwhile there was a 64 per cent jump in break and enters during the same period, which increased due to 21 more instances.  

"We do have a lot of opioid related calls, and that is a tragedy that we're living out not just in Alberta and Cochrane, but in this country. We work really hard to try and deal with that. It's difficult because we're next to a major centre and a lot of people travel back and forth between the City of Calgary and Cochrane and it causes us some problems, but we have had some good collaboration with Calgary Police Service (CPS) and our GIS general investigative unit and our crew team, the crime suppression unit, on both people that are selling drugs and people that are doing the break and enters. I can see that just getting better and better as time goes on and that relationship gets stronger."

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