The Cochrane RCMP detachment will be resuming front counter service this Thursday (July 9) with an enhanced COVID-19 safety protocol.

It's part of the Alberta RCMP's launch to gradually normalize service delivery, allow employees to safely return to offices and detachments.

To respond to the changing environment, the phased approach will be gradual and flexible. At each phase, an assessment will take place to ensure it is safe to move forward to the next phase.

Priority services include taking complaints, criminal record checks, and collision reports.

Cpl. Troy Savinkoff, of the Cochrane RCMP, says they have put several social distancing measures in place, including separating their two cubicles with a wall.

"We'll be controlling the flow of people in the office so they aren't any hordes conglomerations."

Criminal record checks have been slowed since March, and that is one of the services that will be expanded first.

"Our criminal records checks have been limited to one day a week, and I know we're in the process of looking at increasing those days," says Cpl. Savinkoff.

Employees will be physically distancing and disinfecting surfaces regularly following Alberta Health and Health Canada guidelines.

Anyone who is showing signs or symptoms of illness should not enter the detachment. 

Still, the public is being encouraged to only attend detachments for mandatory, priority services that cannot be done over the phone.

Please contact the Cochrane RCMP detachment in advance to confirm opening hours, what services and protocols to expect, and how to access various services. The detachment can be reached at 403-851-8000.

Public access has been limited since the end of March. The RCMP, though, has continued to connect with residents needing their assistance, even with the doors closed.

"We've had them pick up the phone (outside the entrance) if they want to report something, and whenever possible we've tried to work with the public without having face-to-face. But we still have had a certain amount of front counter service where we've been able to deal with a lot of issues," says Cpl. Savinkoff.