Community Stories

The Downtown Unit

March 29, 2019

They rolled into the downtown on bikes and Segways in November, and already they’re making a difference.

The RCMP’s new Downtown Unit patrols Red Deer’s downtown day and night on foot, bicycle and Segway, and now in a new custom built van.

While nothing can replace good old fashioned foot (or two-wheeled) patrols, the van will make the team more efficient as they patrol the downtown. Built-in prisoner cages will facilitate safe prisoner transport and storage areas will easily fit police bicycles, allowing officers to use the van to travel greater distances if needed.

So what does the Downtown Unit do? Their main goal is to be visible in the downtown core and foster relationships with the businesses in the area. That means rain (or snow) or shine, they are out patrolling the streets, interacting with citizens, business owners and visitors in our city. They’re also responding to police calls in the downtown core.

But sometimes they have the most success just by being there. Earlier this winter, two members of the team were on route to a call when they stopped a male for a Traffic Safety Act violation. The situation quickly escalated, with the individual fleeing on foot after giving his name. After a brief foot chase and assistance from a member of the public, the suspect was detained. As a result, this individual is now facing seven criminal charges related to resisting arrest, drug trafficking and weapons. Drugs, including fentanyl, crystal meth, and heroin were seized, along with cash.

“This arrest highlights the purpose of the Downtown Unit perfectly,” said Inspector Dean LaGrange of the Red Deer RCMP. “They’re patrolling the area day in, day out getting to know people and looking for this type of illegal activity that is happening in plain sight.”

With the downtown identified as a priority in the Annual Police Plan, the Downtown Unit hit the streets in November 2018, and their efforts are paying off. Since January, the Downtown Unit has responded to 159 calls for service, laid 42 criminal code charges and executed 70 warrants. 

With warmer weather here, you’re sure to see the Downtown Unit out on their bicycles soon. If you do, be sure to give them a wave!