November 1st, 2020

LPS Crime Suppression Team launched


By Kalinowski, Tim on January 16, 2020.

Chief Scott Woods speaks about new LPS Crime Suppression Team’s first day on the job at a press conference at police headquarters, Wednesday. Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald

tkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

The Lethbridge Police Service’s new Crime Suppression Team hit the streets on Wednesday for this first time, and Chief Scott Woods is eager to see results as six veteran officers prepare to go after certain criminal behaviours largely associated with the drug trade in a more proactive, intelligence-led and targeted way.

“They are going to be targeting the unwanted behaviours we have seen in Lethbridge for a substantial period of time,” says Woods. “One of the top stories for Lethbridge in 2019, if not the top story, was a lot of the issues we are seeing with spin-off crime as a result of the drug crisis. The team was formed to target the behaviours we see within our community, specific to violence, assaults, thefts – and we have seen a drastic increase in commercial break and enters and other unwanted behaviours within certain areas of the city where we have seen a spike in these activities.”

The CST will use both covert and overt methods to also target repeat offenders who engage in these negative behaviours.

“As you know, uniforms and marked police cars have an effect of deterrence, too, but ultimately as we drive by we don’t just want people hiding around a corner or stopping the behaviour,| explains Woods. “There are some covert things we need to do to get to the root of the problem, and this unit will use both (covert and overt policing) to really drill down and deal with the issues we are seeing in the community.”

The six positions are internally funded and Woods has had to pull officers from other areas of the police service to activate the CST.

“There is going to be some reductions in some of our service in certain areas,” Woods admits, “but not on the frontline.”

Woods acknowledged one position was pulled out of the School Resource Officer Program, as an example. But to limit the disruption of pulling these resources within the service, Woods has also decided to deploy a six-man CST unit instead of the eight he originally proposed and hope for further funding from city council to fill out the rest of the eight positions next September when budget discussions arise.

He says there was no shortage of applicants from within the LPS to fill those six positions, with 25 officers applying.

“We had a lot of officers wanting to be a part of this team so there was a selection process with that which trimmed it down to the numbers we’re at,” he explains.

Woods is also encouraging anyone who is interested to follow the Crime Suppression Team on Twitter and keep up with their work @LethbridgeCST.

“I think we will see some good short-term success with it, and hopefully some good long-term success with it as well,” he states. “This is not going to be the end all, be all to solve everything – there’s lots of things going on in the community and this is just one piece of it.”

Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter

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Seth Anthony

The article has missed both elephants in the room:

1) The free for all no consequences drug clubhouse that has, and continues to attract addicts, dealers, and their crime to Lethbridge.

2) Our piss poor catch and release judges / judicial system / politicians.

Granted, the chief states, “The CST will use both covert and overt methods to also target repeat offenders who engage in these negative behaviors”. However,

1) Not only are almost all of them already repeat offenders, but they continuously breach release conditions.

2) Arrest them to what end? Everyone who knows a little bit about the subject also knows they’ll be right back on the streets victimizing people again in a matter of days. The addict criminals are accustomed to this, and that’s why they laugh at “the law”.

Coddle an addict and you will kill an addict. All the while you coddle, they will bring down innocent people with them. There’s thousands of recovering addict testimonials that will tell you the exact same thing.

This is all typical of poor political leadership. Take more of our money for “non solutions” to placate their ego, try and justify their job, and to appease the ignorant that think more policing is the answer.

Learjet

They need to treat repeat offenders as habitual criminals to be incarcerated indefinitely. Also, it important to distinguish the harm is from the addictive nature of hard drugs, i.e. heroine, cocaine, methamphetamine vs natural medicinal substances such as cannabis.