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Message from Mayor Hart; new initiative aims to improve safety

Posted: October 1, 2020

Message from Mayor Hart; new initiative aims to improve safety

Left to Right:  PBLE officers Evans & Simpson,
PBLE owner Dave Prudhomme and Mayor Shelley Hart

Safety is always on the mind of our residents and one of the most frequent comments I hear is that they don’t see the police patrolling our community like they did years ago. I cannot disagree.

When the RCMP assumed responsibility for policing East St. Paul in 2008, their geographic area was just that - East St. Paul. Since then, the detachment has extended their jurisdiction to include West St. Paul and south St. Clements. This is the reason the detachment name was recently changed from East St. Paul to Red River North.

We continue to work with the RCMP on addressing criminal and highway traffic act issues in our community. Last November, I arranged a police forum in our Council chambers so that residents could speak directly with the RCMP officers responsible for protecting our community. Approximately 100 residents attended the forum.

Before I became the Mayor of this community in 2014, I was a police officer with the Winnipeg Police Service for 36 years. I served in the Traffic Division as both a Sergeant and an Inspector and when I retired, I was the Deputy Chief of Operations where I oversaw the general patrol and detective branches.

I know firsthand the constraints of staffing and priorities within law enforcement, but I wanted to do something more for this community to provide a greater sense of security and deter crime.

East St. Paul contracts with Prairie By-Law Enforcement (PBLE) for local by-law enforcement. They routinely deal with issues including unsightly properties, sign and noise complaints, derelict vehicles on residential properties, drainage, parking complaints, and truck route enforcement.

This year during our budget deliberations, I brought forward a new initiative for Council consideration - visibility patrols to deter crime. I suggested we budget extra funds for PBLE, specifically marked for patrolling during evenings, nights and weekends. I was glad to have their support for this initiative and $50,000.00 was set aside for this purpose.

Each Councillor was asked to identify the priority areas within their ward and these were passed along to PBLE as special attentions, but the expectation is they patrol the entire municipality - which is only 42 square kilometres.

On the very first evening/night shift of the visibility patrols, PBLE came across two issues requiring intervention.

At approximately 11:00 pm, PBLE found a vehicle which had squeezed through the wooden barricades around the parking lot of the Duff Roblin Parkway trail and were partying nearby. They were removed from the park and fined for driving on a barricaded roadway. Later the same evening at approximately 2:00 am, PBLE located a vehicle, with no lights, driving through a housing development under construction.

I have included a photo of the PBLE vehicle conducting these patrols. I have already fielded a few inquiries about who they are, demonstrating their increased visibility already.

We will assess the effectiveness of these patrols as we move forward to determine the value they provide. If they prove to be effective, I would like to see their use continued and possibly expanded.

If you have any questions or comments about this initiative, please don’t hesitate to send me an email atShelley.Hart@eaststpaul.com


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