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Edmonton Police Online Town Hall - Monday Answers

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  • Edmonton Police Online Town Hall - Monday Answers

    This thread is reserved for the answers from Monday's Ask thread and will be populated on Tuesday morning.

  • #2
    Answer to Q1

    About two years ago I was assaulted at the Jasper Place Transit Centre. After hitting the HELP button, I was asked by transit security to wait there for 40 minutes until they could arrive. The next day when I filed a police report, the police at the station asked me why I didn't call 911.

    I had assumed that ETS would contact EPS because I had mentioned this was "in-progress".

    Under what circumstances does ETS security contact EPS for assistance, or is it simply up to the victim to call 911?

    ETS Security control will always call EPS if there is a report of a crime in progress on a criminal act occurring on ETS property, as criminal investigations are the sole jurisdiction of the EPS.

    ETS Security acts in a support role, assisting injured parties, obtaining basic information and identifying potential witnesses where appropriate.

    The EPS reminds all citizens to call 9-1-1 for a life threatening emergency or a crime in progress. Your call will be answered by an operator who will direct your call to Police, Fire or Ambulance. It is very important to state your emergency clearly, and to verify the location you are calling from.

    When there is no need for an immediate response, dial 780:423:4567. The police evaluator will assess the appropriate service for your needs.


    • #3
      Answer to Q2

      We are still having issues around the criminal element knowing when the beat officers are done in the area (Alberta Ave). Is there a way to stagger the times of when the officers start and end there shifts? We have found that the community gets peace and quiet when there is an element of surprise.

      It is getting better but this has been an ongoing issue.

      We acknowledge that some of our citizens involved in crime learn when the Beat members are working and take advantage to guide their activities accordingly. To combat this, we are re-deploying regular patrol officers "on foot" into communities in a strategic fashion in order to address crime and disorder issues in the timeliest way possible. While this approach has been met with success, it is subject to staffing levels.

      Depending on the circumstances, the Beat members also have that ability to alter their work schedules with the Community Liaison Constables to address concerns the community has brought to their attention. While flexibility is something that we strive to obtain for Beat members, operational requirements around staffing are a reality that we must be mindful of as well.


      • #4
        Answer to Q3

        Does the EPS have a traffic division? By that I mean an actual segment of police vehicles that do nothing but patrol the streets looking for violators.

        The Edmonton Police Service has a Traffic Section that focuses on enforcement and education regarding traffic-related matters. Officers within the Traffic Section are responsible for organizing and staffing Checkstops in addition to education/enforcement initiatives to address issues such as seatbelt use, impaired driving, speeding and pedestrian safety.

        Another major initiative undertaken by the Traffic Section is the Curb the Danger Program which has resulted in the arrest of numerous impaired drivers since 2006 thanks to calls from the public.

        In addition, all patrol officers throughout the city, as part of their daily duties, are regularly monitoring for traffic violations.


        • #5
          Answer to Q4

          The city completed a study last summer on reduced speed limits (40km/hr) in certain communities. Does the EPS agree that this is a useful tactic to reduce incident and injuries?

          Studies show speed reduction reduces the incidence and severity of collisions. Speed reductions would be a useful tool to address areas where there are traffic safety concerns due to speeding and collision frequency and severity.

          If so will the EPS recommend a 20% reduction on all speed limits in the city?

          Police do not determine the speed limits; this is determined by City Transportation and the Office of Traffic Safety.

          How does the EPS plan to enforce this limit if the study deems it a success and the reduced limit is implemented city wide?

          All speed complaints are scrutinized and subject to a "speed management continuum". The principle of this strategy is to deal with a speeding problem in an escalating manner depending on an evaluation of the severity, duration and traffic safety risk. Commonly it begins with a speed survey to identify if there is in fact a problem and if so the location, time and frequency.

          If a speeding problem is verified then the continuum allows for numerous avenues to deal with it. Some of these include education in the form of collaboration with Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, School Boards, as well as on-street programs such as the "Pace Care Program" (program where members of community sign up and agree to travel the speed limit) and "Speedwatch" (program where volunteers monitor traffic speeds which are displayed on electronic speed boards and repeat violators receive a letter advising them of their speeding). Enforcement options include the use of Community Speed Vehicles (marked photo radar vans that are deployed into areas of concern) and unmarked photo radar vehicles.

          Finally, manned police enforcement would be used in areas that remain a concern. The continuum also provides for redesign and reengineering of problem roadways. The Edmonton Police Service works in conjunction with the Office of Traffic Safety in carrying out this strategy.

          If the plan is to use current resources to police this how will it affect the 'real' crime that is currently going unsolved due to inadequate resources?

          As noted, the Speed Management Continuum identifies the use of manned police enforcement as a last resort. Methods to tackle a blanket city-wide reduction in the residential speed limit would depend on the number of complaints fielded. The speed complaints would have to be prioritized along with other policing issues in a given area and resources allocated as appropriate.


          • #6
            Answer to Q5

            How much does EPS need to grow (manpower and budget wise) over the next 5 years to keep pace with growth and to keep current service levels in check?

            We are currently in the process of developing our 2012-2014 Strategic Business Plan. This plan will build on existing initiatives and will identify strategies to address emerging priorities. Once this plan is complete, we will have a comprehensive framework to develop our operating budget.

            The Edmonton Police Service currently supports 199 policing programs. Each of these programs is reviewed and evaluated on an annual basis to ensure that it is aligned with our goals and priorities and continues to provide value. We then compare this data against emerging priorities and at that time a decision is made to either re-allocate existing resources or consider whether a request for additional positions should be made from City Council.

            We have also adopted a differentiated staffing model to seek improved efficiency within our current staffing levels. For example, a review of our Arrest Processing area determined that several positions that had been staffed with regular police officers could be done by Community Peace Officers in a more cost efficient manner. This then allowed us to re-deploy a number of officers to positions where they could provide more value, often back in front-line roles. Right person for the right job.

            It should be noted that Edmonton City Council approves our operating budget annually. In determining manpower and budget needs over the next five years, we will be taking into account predicted changes in city and regional growth, inflation, attrition, and other emerging priorities identified through our environmental scanning process. To maintain current service levels, our operating budget would require an annual increase at an inflationary/moderate level.
            Last edited by edmontonpolice; 05-04-2011, 09:47 AM.


            • #7
              Answer to Q6

              Multi-part question:

              I recently met with the new beat patrol in Belvedere for some Q&A, and was surprised to hear that they, prior to this new endeavor, had almost no clue about community policing, and until participating did not believe in it. The officer specifically stated that it took a lot of convincing as he was all about arrests, arrests, arrests in the past.

              As a civilian, it always seemed like a no-brainer to have a regular, friendly, police presence in all communities, to both increase the public perception of the police, and for long term crime prevention as opposed to after-the-fact arrests (ie. how New York turned itself around through community policing). It also seems this type of policing changes the public perception of the police from one of mistrust to one of cooperation and understanding.

              1. What is the long-term plan for policing in Edmonton to prevent crime in the first place as opposed to arresting criminals after a crime has been committed?

              We're glad to hear that you were able to get some one-on-one time with the Beat Officer in your local community. Being visible and engaging the public is an integral component of the duties of each officer assigned to work in a Beat. The fostering of relationships and taking the time to learn the perspectives of the citizens in the community is something that can never be taken too seriously.

              From a historical perspective we are proud to say that in 1988 the Edmonton Police Service became the first major police service in Canada to adopt the Community-Based style of policing. Neighborhood Foot Patrols were established in dozens of communities across the city with the expressed goals of being visible to citizens in their neighbourhoods and working with them to deter and prevent crime before it occurred. Your specific neighborhood, Belvedere, has had a Neighborhood Foot Patrol officer since the inception of the program. It is one of seven "Beat" communities policed by Northeast Division members. There are currently 26 Beats across the city, each staffed by one-two officers. Beats is a critical piece in our service delivery model, and the combination of public support and results that it garners ensures it will continue to be a staple for many years to come.

              Of course dealing with offenders "after the fact" and directing them towards the justice system is a necessary part of the policing function. That said, the preventative side of policing has been and continues to be a focus for the EPS. For example Neighborhood Empowerment Teams (N.E.T.) operate in six at-risk communities in Edmonton. As a shared project of City of Edmonton Community Services, Edmonton Police Service, The Family Centre and United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, N.E.T. teams are championed as a means of applying non-traditional policing response to very common, recurrent community issues.

              The Public Safety Compliance Team (PSCT) is another such multi-disciplined group, being comprised of a member of EPS, Edmonton Fire Services, Alberta Gaming and Liquor and City of Edmonton Development Compliance Branch. It is a multi-agency team designed to coordinate the efforts of the municipal and provincial agencies involved in the operation, licensing, regulation, and enforcement of licensed business establishments. Like our N.E.T., the PSCT strives to be proactive and prevention-based. Enforcement is seen as a natural consequence to sub-standard performance related to compliance or safety issues.

              The Edmonton Police Service has also taken advantage of the opportunity to impact our youth in a positive way through our School Resource Officer program at many Junior High and High Schools within our boundaries. Further, on a more individual scale, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program is delivered in numerous Elementary Schools throughout the city.

              In short, prevention is something the Edmonton Police Service views as being of upmost importance. Moving forward, our training, planning and budget process all reflect our commitment to this philosophy, and will ensure that this stance is maintained in future years as well. At the very core of Community Policing is the partnership the Edmonton Police Service develops with the community. The police cannot do it alone and need the cooperation and participation of the neighbourhood and its citizens. Crime prevention is only possible through the willingness of the community to get involved and learn how they can assist. Ultimately, Community Policing recognizes the independence and shared responsibility of the police and the community in ensuring a safe and secure environment for all citizens.

              2. How does the EPS gauge public perception? Does it factor into operating procedure? What is being done to foster a better relationship between EPS members and the general public?

              The Edmonton Police Service conducts its Citizen Survey on a bi-annual basis. Survey results - which include views of the Edmonton Police Service - are presented to EPS management and the Edmonton Police Commission. This way, issues identified in the survey are reflected in the EPS strategic priorities.

              Public participation and feedback are encouraged through hosting periodic divisional and city-wide townhalls, and citizen attendance at monthly Police Commission meetings which are open to the public.

              The EPS also works to strengthen contact with and service to Edmonton's religious, youth and ethno-cultural communities by appointing Senior Officers to Community Liaison Committees who, with their public counterparts, comprise the Chief's Advisory Council.

              Another way the EPS stays connected with our citizens is through the Citizens' Police Academy. This 13-week course covers many aspects of the police service, with a strong emphasis on community policing. Topics include crime prevention, auto theft, beat officers, police dispatch, and community policing. This free course is offered twice a year and is open to all Edmontonians.
              Last edited by edmontonpolice; 05-04-2011, 09:47 AM.


              • #8
                Answer to Q7

                Right now, especially at this time of the year, we see a lot of garbage and cigarette butts on the streets. Do any of the foot patrol officers write tickets to any offending street polluters they happen to catch, or is this outside EPS' mandate?

                The effects of littering are a frustration shared by many, if not all, members of the public and the Police Service alike. Littering in public is a contravention of a local bylaw. EPS officers, as well as bylaw officers employed by the City of Edmonton, have the authority to issue tags to anyone contravening a bylaw. We do what we can; however, because catching someone "in the act" is a rare event, we aren't able to take action on littering in a large way.

                We can also act on reports by citizens on littering. What we require is some way to track down a violator after the fact (vehicle license plate and physical description for example). We are more than happy to take action in these situations when the circumstances support it.

                Issues such as littering fall into a broad category of occurrences that we label as “disorder”. We track crime on a daily basis, but its also important to note that we take these disorder issues seriously, tracking them on a daily basis as well. We recognize that disorder is often the first sign of a larger issue that may be developing and attempt to be proactive in managing all disorder in an attempt to prevent the evolution of more serious community harm. This is commonly referred to as "order maintenance" and forms a part of our larger community safety strategy.
                Last edited by edmontonpolice; 05-04-2011, 09:47 AM.


                • #9
                  Answer to Q8

                  Why is there not more of a focus/allotment of officers for a true BEAT patrol in the downtown core? It would seem logical to do this in order to establish a stronger overt presence to those who might consider offending in the area, along with strengthening ties between residents and the business community.

                  As a member of the Downtown Community League ( and a resident of the downtown, I can tell you that safety and the perception of the lack there of currently is very much top of mind with residents and business owners.

                  While I did recall reading that the EPS had plans of increasing BEAT PATROLS in central areas, I rarely see this occurring in the downtown. While traveling in NYC or Boston, it was quite amazing to see the amount of beat officers on corners, chatting with business owners etc.

                  There is a significant need, both visually and otherwise, to increase this presence and make better connections to the downtown community.

                  We certainly agree that a strong visual presence of police in any area of Edmonton, the downtown core included, will provide many tangible benefits for both citizens and police alike.

                  In recognizing this, Downtown Division has expanded its Beat officer program in recent years and currently deploys two complete squads of Beat officers, each comprised of one sergeant and 10 constables. These squads of Beat officers represent a significant portion of the total staffing in the Division. Further, Beats often have supplemental officers added to their ranks when staffing levels in regular patrol squads allow, thus increasing their numbers when possible.

                  The vast amount of territory that Edmonton encompasses makes it difficult to police this city in a manner similar to the large American centres that you mention. Suffice to say that we recognize the value of a strong Beat program and seek to leverage this benefit to the greatest extent that we can.


                  • #10
                    Answers to Q9

                    Why is it that the traffic branch seems to focus strictly on speeding tickets? There are countless other violations that I see every day; driving on the shoulder, driving across the gores on interchange ramps, not signalling for lane changes, broken taillights, dirty license plates, yet rarely do I see a police officer stopping for these violations.

                    I do realize that to enforce these laws you need a presence on the road and speed traps are easier to manage but it isn't the ONLY problem on our roads.

                    Your question points out several significant challenges we face in our attempts to improve traffic safety in Edmonton: deteriorating driver attitudes and behaviours, maintaining a consistent police presence, enforcing traffic laws on higher speed road ways where officers are at greater risk, and how we prioritize the time and efforts of our members. Traffic and road safety within Edmonton is and always will
                    be a priority of the Edmonton Police Service.

                    We are fully aware of the often appalling driving behaviour of Edmontonians and we focus our daily efforts to combat these behaviours. Our enforcement strategies include moving mode radar on major corridors (including Whitemud Drive) that allow us to safely intercept vehicles driving at high speeds, increased police presence at high collision locations throughout the city enforcing violations such as stop signs, unsafe left turns, seat belt and child restraint inspections, school zone enforcement, commercial vehicle inspections, as well as impaired driving and motorcycle street racing and noise infractions.

                    In addition to these, we use automated enforcement to monitor speeds in areas and at times where manned enforcement has too many safety risks, and red light cameras that provide a sustained deterrent to dangerous intersection driving behaviours that we cannot offer through manned enforcement. All of these efforts are based on sound strategic planning, community and stakeholder consultations, and an evaluation of our results.

                    These strategies are supported by all of the resources within Traffic Section and by further support of our patrol officers. Further to this, we are involved in traffic education campaigns and ongoing discussions with the City of Edmonton road engineers - all designed to improve road safety in Edmonton.

                    With limited resources and ever increasing demands on police not only in traffic but in all other policing areas, we struggle to maintain a visible and consistent public enforcement presence. I can tell you that it is always a challenge to be where we need to be, when we need to be there, as well as address all of the growing concerns within the City of Edmonton. Edmonton is not alone as cities across Canada experience the same challenges we do.


                    • #11
                      Community Newsletters and Crime Alerts

                      To further stay in touch with the Edmonton Police Service, we would like to encourage citizens to sign up for our monthly newsletters and crime alerts. This can be accessed via our Community Policing pages on our website. To find out what policing district you live in, please use the “District Chooser” on the right hand side of the page - you can use your address, neighbourhood, or Google map.