July 20th, 2024

Police launch enforcement operation downtown

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on March 16, 2024.

Herald photo by Al Beeber Sgt. Ryan Darroch of the LPS downtown policing unit talks to reporters about an enforcement project that has been launched.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge Police Service enforcement project downtown has resulted in the arrests of 13 people, the execution of 37 warrants and the seizure of 350 street doses of fentanyl.

Police also caught an apprehended an impaired driver and issued nine violation tickets – all on the first day of the operation that will continue all year targeting crime and social disorder downtown.

The enforcement project started Wednesday. It includes members of the Downtown Policing Unit, Crime Suppression Team, Property Crimes Unit and community peace officers.

Police say the deployment will be scheduled throughout the year and involves uniformed and covert officers actively targeting offenders engaged in criminal activity “along with other negative behaviours impacting perceptions of safety in the city centre.”

Police say that businesses and visitors can expect to see an increased police presence downtown on days the teams are deployed to target high frequency offenders and areas that have a high crime volume.

Police are asking people who see suspicious activity anywhere in the city to call 403-328-4444. Incidents of theft under $5,000, as well as thefts from vehicles and damage to vehicles can be reported online where there is a category to also report nuisance and non-criminal matters.

Sergeant Ryan Darroch of the downtown policing unit on Friday said the amount of fentanyl seized amounts to about 35 grams.

Darroch said he feels people have some of their faith in reporting events because of a belief nothing will be done – which he completely disagrees with.

Having information will help Darroch understand where the problems are so teams can be deployed more effectively “which is very important to us.”

And even if a person feels a matter is unimportant, it could be important to the police.

Darroch says there are about 220 at-risk people downtown, many of them who are seeking help and some who don’t want to accept supports or help.

Many are known to police, many of them police knew had warrants and they went out to seek them, they recognized them and made arrests.

“We made sure we had the proper resources in place to deal with that,” Darroch said.

The sergeant said numbers for the first day were “par for the course” and he would expect them to climb in the future.

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Thank you to all those involved in this enforcement project. It is my hope that this will happen frequently and the offenders will learn that this isn’t a “do as you please” society here in Lethbridge. If you continue to enforce laws and hold those responsible for their actions, perhaps some will decide to get the help they need and others that refuse to try and change, will move somewhere else. NIMBY? You betcha! I don’t have a problem with that what-so-ever.