The County of Foothills has found a way to add to RCMP patrols in rural areas and they are very happy with the results.
Reeve Larry Spilak says they have hired off duty police officers with cars from local detachments to patrol specific areas in the municipality.
The county ran an initial three-month pilot program from October to December 2018 with an emphasis on property crimes and traffic safety.
"Late last fall our council made a decision to allot $150,000 from the budget towards increasing the policing within the County," said Spilak. "We began that operation early winter."
The County hires an RCMP officer, along with a car, to patrol within the municipality.
"What this does for us is it gives us the flexibility to direct that officer or officers to the locations we feel are most necessary to patrol. To date we are very pleased with the results."
They are finding rural crime in the County has dropped substantially and they plan to move forward with the program.
"If anything we will probably be looking to increase that allotment for this purpose."
He adds they have had many calls from residents who are happy to see an increase in RCMP patrols.
The money for this program comes strictly from the County ratepayers and is used for extra policing above and beyond what the RCMP are doing day-to-day.
"We utilize RCMP officers that are on leave or have the day off and wish to work. It is kind of an overtime situation for the officers so it benefits them and it benefits us.
Spilak adds the program has been such a success they will be looking to increase it going forward and hopefully rural crime will drop even further.
The officers came from detachments in Okotoks, Turner Valley and High River and according to RCMP statistics and community feedback, the initiative has been largely successful.
The program with increased RCMP presence along with increased traffic enforcement began in February after the County received the signed agreement from the provincial government.