Cochrane RCMP Cpl. Troy Savinkoff says members of the local detachment, like everyone else, had to shift their focus in the spring when COVID-19 became present in Alberta.
"The number one focus on the RCMP at a local level here was maintaining our minimum staffing levels. We were fortunate enough at our local detachment that we did not have a single member contract COVID, however, we had to manage members who were in close contact with COVID patients, some of who had to isolate for 14 days."
As far as the crime trend went in Cochrane in 2020, it was comparable to 2019.
Savinkoff says property crimes had been down for much of the year until the last month or so.
"We did see a reduction in property crimes on the rural side. In town we were doing quite well and then within the last three or four weeks we saw a sharp increase in theft from and of motor vehicles, and that brought us to kind of an even pace of what we saw last year."
One of the biggest changes for the local detachment will be adding onto the satellite office in Morley.
"Starting on January 4 with the implementation of the new Stoney Nakoda detachment. This will be a semi-autonomous detachment out of our satellite office in Morley. That new detachment will have dedicated officers that will be housed out of it, so there will be a constant police presence in the Stoney Nakoda First Nation."
Savinkoff says there will be 10 officers stationed in Stoney Nakoda.
Reducing the number of impaired drivers on the road will continue to be a focus for local members.
New impaired driving legislation, Bill 21 came into effect earlier this month.
"What it allows officers to do is charge people roadside with impaired driving with the new provincial sanctions, and it really will free up officers from a lot of the court disclosure commitments and really reduce the amount of time that it takes to prosecute and get impaired drivers off the road."
"The very first weekend that Bill 21 took effect on Dec. 1, our officers along with our Highway patrol members actually interdicted 10 impaired drivers just that first weekend, which is a very marked increase."