Community enforcement has had a busy 2010 with incidents almost doubling from the previous year.
Community enforcement supervisor Darcy Nundahl recently presented the department’s 2010 yearly report to the Drumheller Policing Committee. It showed that with 1,376 incidents investigated, the department had an 85 per cent closed disposition rate on these files. Of these, there were 135 citations issued with 55 warnings. This compared with 2009 where there were only 22 citations issued.
“(Of the 1,376 incidents), 1,167 are done, they are closed. There has been a resolution, a warning, a ticket or a notice issued. All parties are satisfied, mostly,” said Nundahl.
Of these incidents, 274 were dealing with unsightly property, up from 63 in the previous year. Traffic incidents, which include everything from Traffic Safety Act enforcement to snow removal and parking saw an increase to 348 in 2010, up from 207 in 2009. The only area that saw a slight decrease was in animal control.
In presenting the report, Policing Committee chair Fred Makowecki raised some concerns about the number of citations compared to the number of warnings.
“How can we have more citations than warnings? If we are being proactive and talking to people first wouldn’t we have a heck of a lot more warnings than citations?” asked Makowecki. “It looks like your first action is citation rather than warning.”
Nundahl said a big part of the disparity of numbers is accuracy in reporting the incidents. Often warnings may not be recorded. He also points out that citations are not just tickets, but could be other types of warnings or postings. Of the 135 citations last year, he said 124 were tickets.
This year he has already seen a difference and says of the 33 citations issued this year, only eight are tickets.
“It is a valid point, and it is something we are trying to improve on, making it more consistent to what we are doing,” he said.
He said they are being proactive in their approach to bylaw enforcement.
“It is probably more complaint driven than proactive. That is not to say it isn’t proactive,” said Nundahl. “Once we get a complaint in an area, we just don’t deal with that one complaint in the neighbourhood, we look around and see if there are other similar issues that we can deal with so we are not giving the impression we are targeting individuals, but we are dealing with the issue in the area.”
He says his direction for enforcement is driven by council’s direction. The priorities outlined include unsightly premises, and animal control. Issues with parking are also important to council. He says the direction has changed little in the last two years.
“We want to get out there and educate as much as we can,” he said. “For me, if I am able to deal with one person on the road and five or six people see me with lights going, in uniform, and that stops five or six people from doing what they were illegally doing before, we’ve succeeded. It isn’t about the tickets.”