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Edmonton Police Service Online Town Hall - Tuesday Answers

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  • Edmonton Police Service Online Town Hall - Tuesday Answers

    I have called EPS's non-emergency number (423-4567) periodically over many years to report dangerous drivers. I seem to get a different level of response each time I call, ranging from complete indifference (as if I'm bothering an officer by reporting dangerous driving!) to grateful co-operation leading to immediate action. (I am pleased to say that the response to my last report was very positive.)

    Please outline what EPS does when they receive a report about a dangerous driver?

    And please outline EPS's customer service standards for officers staffing this non-emergency line.

    First off, thank you for your positive comment regarding the last occasion that you reported a dangerous driver.

    The habits and behaviours of motorists using our roads have long been a lightening rod for complaints to police – and with good reason too. These driving behaviours range from rude and disrespectful to outright criminal. The bottom line is the actions of these drivers can impact the safety of the other lawful and courteous users of the road.

    Our response to dangerous driving complaints is predicated on a number of factors including other unrelated events that may require the attention of our officers. Complaint evaluators will attempt to determine what types of behaviours the caller witnessed? Does the driving pattern described speak to dangerous driving or poor driving? What is the traffic level and condition of the road? Has a licence plate been obtained and if so does that plate match the vehicle described? Is the vehicle still being followed or has the caller lost sight of it? The answers to these questions allow us to make an informed decision regarding our response. Options in this regard include:
    • Having the radio dispatcher perform a broadcast to relay the caller’s observations to officers that might be in the vicinity.
    • Directing the caller to the nearest police station to file a report. An officer will then follow up on the information as quickly as possible.
    • Dispatching a patrol car immediately to attempt to intercept the offending vehicle and investigate the driver’s actions.
    Our Police Dispatch 9-1-1 Section guidelines for processing dangerous driving complaints are based on the Industry International Standard Protocol. As with many issues that we deal with, our policy reflects our need to find a balance between public safety and the timely allocation of our limited resources.

    Customer service standards are somewhat subjective and difficult to articulate but suffice to say the Edmonton Police Service strives to provide a courteous and professional service to all citizens of Edmonton. We encourage folks to contact us in any and all cases where we fail to meet expectations on this critical front. Concerns with our Dispatch Centre can be directed to any supervisor via the EPS Complaint Line at 780-423-4567.

    I am writing to express my concern over reports (in the Edmonton Sun-- ) about the EPS response to the most recent attack on a woman in the Bonnie Doon area. I'm very concerned about the report that EPS did not come to the scene when this woman phoned for assistance. If the EPS knows that a man has been attacking women in the Bonnie Doon area (three attacks within a short time of each other), how is it possible that they did not arrive swiftly at the scene to apprehend--or at a bare minimum identify and question--the man who in this case posed a threat? It seems urgent to me to review a policy that would have police respond to an incident involving possibly/probably a repeat offender as if it were any other, individual case. If this policy allows the EPS to consider the woman in this case, other women in the vicinity--or indeed any woman who has called the EPS under similar conditions--"out of immediate threat," there is a problem with this policy. Please. Please re-evaluate this policy and take seriously the threat to women in the Bonnie Doon area right now, in this particular case. I'm sure everyone can agree that the time to increase police attention to this threat is before someone is seriously harmed.

    I am also concerned that this policy would not adequately protect women anywhere in the city, at any time. What is the process for review? How can citizens initiate a review process for policies such as this?

    The Edmonton Police Service shares the concerns regarding citizen safety that you express above and accepts our role in ensuring the safety, welfare and security of the citizens of Edmonton. We take this responsibility very seriously.

    Our Police Dispatch/9-1-1 Section has a comprehensive protocol that guides not only our response to an event but also the manner in which we respond. As the Edmonton Sun article that you reference above indicates, an event where immediate police response will likely prevent or reduce further harm to a person is a higher priority for dispatch than an event where police response to the occurrence is not time sensitive. The protocol employed by the Edmonton Police Service is also consistent with those of other police services both in this country and abroad. Most importantly, the belief that public safety is paramount is its overriding goal.

    The victim in this particular case took issue with the time it took for police to respond and questioned why it took so long for us to arrive if the perpetrator was still in the area. We can tell you that the entire matter has been the subject of an extensive review by the Police Dispatch/9-1-1 Section. The victim has been an integral part of this review. Additionally, the policy itself has been examined to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the community and the standards that it bestows upon us. The review is now concluded and the victim been apprised of its contents and recommendations and is satisfied with the results. The policy itself has been determined to be sound and able to meet the needs of all of the stakeholders. A large portion of the review has been implementing strategies that will ensure that this policy and others are applied as uniformly and consistently as possible.

    I live on a at the bottom of a big hill with a long stretch of a long and winding smooth road, that makes it perfect for 'longboarding'. This is the act of skateboarding downhill at high rates of speed. While I do recognize that this is a legitimate sport and takes great skill as well as its great exercise climbing the long hills. I have serious concerns about the safety of these riders and how it will affect me or my family if they were to ride into me or my vehicle. While most now wear protective gear and helmets, they are still way out of control going around blind corners are high rates of speed.

    Last year my wife had on rider 'spill' in front of her vehicle and the board ended up underneath her vehicle. Her and the kids were quite disturbed by the incident and fortunate for what did not happen, as it could have been much worse. Also last year there was a more serious incident where an ambulance did have to respond, I am not sure if a vehicle was involved or if this was just a wipeout.

    I tried the 311 approach and was told to contact police non-emergency line. I have done this several times, typically when riders are being towed back up the hill. Most times the officer states little can be done, and they can really only do something if they spot the riders being towed. However there is bylaw 5590 #75 that limits skateboarding on city streets. Patrol cars are sent on a low priority (understandable) by that time the riders are typically dispersed.

    What can be done to prevent this or provide alternate 'safe?' locations?

    Thank you for your understanding that officers are typically responding to matters of greater priority and for your foresight to consider alternative solutions. Our Community Liaison Officers are often a very helpful resource in these cases. Community Liaison Officers are assigned to each of the patrol districts in the city and their mandate includes resolving ongoing issues in the community.

    We’ve attached a link below that will allow you to determine who the Community Liaison Officer is in your area. This officer will be happy to assist in developing a long-term solution to this problem.

    Follow the above link and use the “Find Your District” tool on the right side of the screen to find out how to contact your CLC.

    During the first couple of years when Air-1 was in operation, the EPS website would provide a recap of the various calls the helicopter responded to the night before.

    This information was useful because I can find out why the helicopter was flying in my neighborhood at, say, 3am the previous day. Is it possible for the Air-1 updates to return to the EPS webpage?


    Unfortunately, due to privacy interests and other operational issues, we are limited in what details we provide about incidents within a specific area like those associated to our flight operations. Those details are often related to ongoing investigations and need to remain confidential.

    However, we do post information surrounding our eight crime indicators that has been vetted for public consumption on our Neighbourhood Crime Mapping application:

    As well, if the incident is of interest to the media (and therefore, the public) we may post a news release about the incident on our website:

    News releases and other updates are also available on Facebook and Twitter.

    First of all, as a Canadian and resident of this city, I would like to thank the EPS for all of their efforts to date. Police work is not an easy task and putting your life in harms way for the safety of the citizens of this city on a daily basis is commendable. Thank you to all officers for their hard work and efforts. They are appreciated even if they do not hear it often.

    I have been reading a book very recently, entitled "Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement: A Guide for Officers and their Families" by Dr. Gilmartin. A very interesting read thus far.

    My questions:
    1. Is this required reading for your officers during recruit training?

    2. What does the EPS have in place to help officers proactively learn how to deal with the stresses of their job, so they can have a healthy career, and have a healthy social and family life without all of the cynicism that can be prevalent in the law enforcement community with everything they have to deal with on a daily basis?

    This book states that there are a lot of tools at officers disposal for dealing with the physical safety side of the job in many departments (which is very important), but that most departments have very few tools to help officers learn how to deal with the emotional aspects of the job before they start having problems. I am hoping that the EPS gives its officers the tools to assist them before problems arise. Just reading this book I think would be a great start.

    Thank you.

    Thank you for your kind comments regarding the work we do. It’s great to know that we have support in the community from folks that understand and appreciate the trials and challenges that our work can bring to our personal lives.

    Dr Gilmartin’s book has been required reading for recruits in the Edmonton Police Service for a number of years. We see such value in the work of Dr Gilmartin that each and every recruit is provided a personal copy of the book prior to them hitting the street. Further, we have invited Dr Gilmartin to Edmonton a number of times to deliver his critical message to our officers in person. He is a very talented and accomplished speaker and it’s not uncommon for officers to see him time and time again.

    While we agree that a proactive approach in this area is clearly the best path to take, the reality is that our officers can on occasion find themselves in need of support arising from stressor both from within and outside of work. Full time counselling services, peer support services, Critical Incident Stress Management services and a full time Chaplain are all at the disposal of our members when the need arises.