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SARM wants improved RCMP communication

SARM wants improved RCMP communication

RCMP didn’t issue a public alert after police found a deceased male

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

An organization representing Saskatchewan’s rural communities wants better communication from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

An incident in the Stockholm/Esterhazy area on Feb. 10 left one man dead and a woman injured.

But citizens weren’t aware of what happened because the RCMP didn’t issue a public alert.

“I think they feel like they’re being a little neglected, in some sense maybe forgotten about, because the farms and ranches are pretty sparsely located in some areas,” said Ray Orb, president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM),  CJME reported.

Following the incident, Saskatchewan RCMP released sketches of three suspects.

The police also explained the factors that got into releasing a public alert.

“The Saskatchewan RCMP’s decision to issue a civil emergency alert for a dangerous person is situationally based. Not every homicide or serious investigation will result in an emergency alert being issued. Specific criteria – like that for an AMBER Alert – are challenging to define, because every situation and investigation is unique and varies greatly.

“Generally speaking, investigators will consider if there is an imminent ability, intent and means for someone to cause serious/significant bodily harm or death to others. We also must provide instructions for the public to act upon (example: shelter in place). These considerations and discussions are fluid and ongoing during the course of an investigation and unfolding incident. Reassessments occur on an ongoing basis as circumstances change and investigations continue.

“When the February 10, 2023, homicide occurred in the Stockholm/Esterhazy area, specific suspect information nor vehicle descriptions were available. Given these factors, we have to consider: where would an emergency alert be issued and what would we ask the public to look for?

“Police officers physically attended individual residences in the vicinity of this incident shortly after it occurred to confirm the wellbeing of others in the area and notify them about the incident. A media release was issued publicly at 8:23 a.m. February 10. As soon as the suspect sketches were prepared, they were released to our news partners and shared with the public on February 12.

“We continue to encourage the public to report information about this incident to police by calling 310-RCMP, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 or call 911 in an emergency.”

Conversations between the RCMP and rural communities may be necessary to ensure everyone is on the same page about what constitutes a public alert, Orb said.

“If the RCMP has different criteria than we think, I think that’s something we need to discuss, because it doesn’t seem like those tools were used, and that’s what it’s there for,” he said, CJME reported.

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