Officers from the Houston RCMP detachment are resuming foot patrols. (Angelique Houlihan photo/Houston Today)

Officers from the Houston RCMP detachment are resuming foot patrols. (Angelique Houlihan photo/Houston Today)

RCMP resume foot patrols in parks, downtown

Officers can connect with the community

With spring here and summer on its way, Houston RCMP officers are spending more time on foot patrols in local parks and the downtown core.

It’s matter of seeing and being seen, says Houston RCMP detachment commander Sgt. Mark Smaill.

“It we can get out of our vehicles, we can better connect with the community,” he said in describing the foot patrols as one way to deter or detect criminal activity in the area.

“It’s good old-fashioned community policing. It’s really important for us to be out there.”

If not on foot and back in their vehicles, officers count curfew checks, patrols of the industrial park area and school zone traffic enforcement as other measures to deter or detect criminal activity.

News that foot patrols were resuming formed part of Smaill’s report to the District of Houston council for the period of January to March this year.

There were 585 calls for service for that time period compared to 549 for the same time period in 2021.

Of the calls for January to March this year, 140 were criminal code related, just four more than for January to March 2021.

And the vast majority of this year’s calls, were in or near Houston, Smaill noted in his report to council.

One key initiative on the part of the detachment continues — having an officer go out once a week with a Northern Health Authority registered psychiatric nurse to check on those who may need mental health and other health care services.

“This is an ongoing program that has seen success in connecting community members with mental health, addiction and health care services that they may not be aware of or have difficult accessing,” Smail indicated in his report.

Following its introduction in Houston, the detachment has since expanded the health services initiative to the Granisle area.

The prospect of further being able to assist individuals in the community will take on an added emphasis with the formal creation of a situation table, the name for representatives from various agencies, including the police, who will meet regularly to go over specific situations in which direct assistance can be provided.

“The detachment will be actively involved in the situation table and looks forward to the opportunity to work closely with community partners,” Smaill wrote.

The detachment also made 40 referrals to the victim services program which Smaill described as a valuable resource for the community.