It was something they've done on a regular basis for a number of years, but the recent law enforcement, intelligence and border security summit session involving Montana, North Dakota and Saskatchewan officials attracted a great deal more attention this year.
Sgt. Paul Dawson, a spokesman for the Saskatchewan RCMP, said that due to a significant increase in cross-border traffic and ensuing events that involved law enforcement, this year's two-day conference in Glasgow, Mont. gained more media attention this time.
Dawson said three representatives from the RCMP attended the sessions, representing three major areas that included enforcement, intelligence and security and that included the International Border Enforcement unit.
The recent spike in driving offences and traffic volume in southeast Saskatchewan has led to the formation of an additional six person RCMP team that will focus solely on highway traffic items, but as Dawson noted, “one driving offence, one vehicle check might lead to an impaired driving charge, or a drug possession charge or some other unrelated offence. One thing might lead to another.”
Dawson said there has been a significant increase in impaired driving incidents in southeast Saskatchewan along with some “aggressive drivers,” and that has led to the formation of the special traffic team that is expected to begin operations soon. Right now they are dealing with logistical challenges, setting up office and work spaces and housing.
“The recent drug bust we made a few months ago, Operation Feral, was a prime example of sharing intelligence among various policing agencies,” said Dawson referring to the international drug ring that was halted in British Columbia after being tracked for months as the drug carriers performed their rituals between North Dakota, Montana, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C.
“But we have been meeting with these other agencies for years formally and informally. We work closely with the Canadian Border Services Agency, urban police departments and the American agencies all the time and our research shows that keeping the communication lines open helps everyone,” said Dawson.
“The basic front line contact with the public is still the most important start point in enforcement. A simple traffic ticket may lead to uncovering outstanding warrants, a drug bust or maybe another criminal case or some other intelligence gathering opportunity.”
Dawson concluded by saying that the RCMP personnel being added to the Estevan and area network will not be compromising work and staffing in other sectors since those transferring into this region will be replaced by newly graduated recruits and experienced personnel who are moving into and around the RCMP ranks in other parts of the province and throughout Western Canada this spring and summer.