RCMP are looking for help from the community in setting up a system that will save both time and costs for the detachment.
Sergeant Ryan Hoetmer of the Drayton Valley RCMP says the Town and the detachment have been working together for several years on a program that allows residents to register their security cameras with the RCMP. Hoetmer says those security cameras can be very useful tools for the RCMP in their investigations.
Hoetmer says there is a small number of registrants in Drayton, but he hopes to see interest in the program increase.
One of the most time-consuming tasks officers face during an investigation is going door to door to look for witnesses or to see if anyone has a security camera they could access. He says sometimes it can take hours for officers to get through the area of a crime.
With a security camera registration, the police can shave hours off that time, freeing them to look into other pressing matters as well. It would also save the RCMP the costs of having several officers on duty to gather information.
While the program with the Town didn’t take off the way they had hoped, Hoetmer hopes that a new initiative being put forth across the province will increase registration. The province is now offering a program called the Rural Alberta Community Assisted Policing Through Use of Recorded Evidence (CAPTURE) Program.
Hoetmer says though this program has rural in the name, they aren’t just referring to residents outside of communities. It’s actually meant for all areas outside of the major cities such as Edmonton or Calgary.
The program gives the RCMP quick access to potential evidence by using a mapping service with the registration program. Officers can look for the area on the map where the crime took place and then see how many cameras may have recorded evidence on them.
Hoetmer says in this day and age, it’s almost impossible for someone to avoid cameras when they are out in public. The RCMP already work with businesses to utilize their cameras during investigations. Having the help of private home cameras would make their use of resources even more efficient.
The sergeant says he realizes the idea of the police having access to home cameras is alarming to some people. However, many are assuming the RCMP will have more information than is actually required by the program.
“We have no access to your cameras,” says Hoetmer. “We only have access to a list of contacts for those who may have private cameras in a given area.”
“We only need an address and a way to contact the owner,” he says. No other information is required. However, registrants do have the option to provide more, such as the direction their cameras point in.
“Only the RCMP will have access to this list,” says Hoetmer.
He says that even if someone is registered with the program, if RCMP ask them to see the footage, the owner of the camera is still free to decline if they don’t feel comfortable.
The program is completely voluntary, he says. If anyone is interested, they can visit www.ruralalbertacapture.ca to look into it.
By Amanda Jeffery, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Aug 10, 2023