Advertisement

Lethbridge police officials push for Crime Suppression Team

Lethbridge police officials push for ‘Crime Suppression Team’
WATCH ABOVE: Lethbridge police officials are introducing a new idea to city council that would use in-house expertise to combat specific crimes. Emily Olsen reports.

Lethbridge police officials are introducing a new idea to city council that would use in-house expertise to combat specific crimes.

The suggestion comes after council asked the commission to explore hiring eight new officers.

At a meeting on Monday, Interim Police Chief Scott Woods and Lethbridge Police Commission chair Peter Deys pushed for support in implementing a Crime Suppression Team (CST) of current officers with experience in surveillance or drug-related offences that would strategically target known or suspected individuals and groups.

READ MORE: Charges laid in violent swarming, stabbing of Lethbridge teen

The CST would be rolled out in two phases.

Phase 1 would include creating the job descriptions, selecting personnel and implementing the team.

Story continues below advertisement

Phase 2 would involve the hiring and training of new replacement officers to fill gaps left behind.

Woods said the new team could offer a more immediate and proactive response than by hiring eight new patrol officers, as previously suggested by council.

“It’s a Band-Aid approach,” Woods said.

READ MORE: No charges after Lethbridge officer repeatedly ran over deer in January

Both the plan proposed by police and the one proposed by council would take up to two years to fully implement, at a cost of approximately $3 million, but Woods said the Crime Suppression Team would have a much more immediate impact.

“I think it’s a more effective way to address — and start tackling — some of the issues we’re seeing in the community,” he said, “in particular, [with respect to] the crime trends we’re seeing — specific to the low-level drug transactions, property crime, violence and other associated things we’re seeing.”

Woods informed council that the police service plans to implement the CST with or without a funding commitment.

Story continues below advertisement

Mayor Chris Spearman commented that funding may be a tall order with no additional money for policing coming in from the province.

Council will revisit the question of funding in the new year.