At its Oct. 23 meeting, Town of Peace River council was approached by Peace Regional RCMP community advisory committee to provide a letter of support for a Northwest Regional bail Crown prosecutor project.

“Council has provided a letter of support of the Peace Regional RCMP community advisory committee’s request for a pilot NW regional crown prosecutor,” says Mayor Elaine Manzer.

“The committee feels that locating a Crown prosecutor to handle remand releases from the Peace River Correctional Centre in Peace River, AB,  would cause bail decisions to be made with a local lens that includes the impacts on the local community,” she adds.

Manzer says council supported the endeavour because it hopes some of the impacts of homelessness, mental health woes, and addiction issues in the community can be eradicated or addressed to help the people suffering, as well as lessen the burden on the community.

“Unfortunately, for some individuals that are committing crimes, our court and corrections system’s laws and rules seem to quickly re-release individuals into the same circumstances and choices that they were charged or sometimes not charged for,” she explains.

“There are also some strict rules on the amounts of time, the individuals can be held by the RCMP as well.

“I realize that the crimes are committed by a variety of people of different circumstances, but some crimes are being committed by individuals that are being released from the Correctional Centre into Peace River. This amplifies some of the vandalism and concerns for community safety.”

Manzer says council is supporting the initiative as one strategy that may lead to a higher level of feelings of community safety and at the same time reduce vandalism and criminal behaviour.

“It is one of the strategies we are supporting as well a supporting the Mental Health Task Force, which is working on mobile outreach programs to liaison with downtown businesses as we all deal with more homeless individuals in our downtown area,” says Manzer.

“Our RCMP quarterly reports have shown a significant increase in vandalism and other crimes over the last year with a slight decrease in the last quarter’s numbers. The released prisoners are not the only ones committing the crimes but do make up a portion of the statistics.”

By Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Nov 01, 2023 at 10:35

This item reprinted with permission from   South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta

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