Domestic violence, drugs increasing in Lakeshore region

Dale Cox is Lakeshore’s chief of police.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Domestic violence and drugs ere growing concerns in 2020 for Lakeshore Regional Police Service.

“Our top crimes continue to be domestic violence and we have also seen a rise in drug-related crime,” says Dale Cox, chief of police since the service started in 2008.

“For the most part, crime trends have stayed consistent with the exception of an increase in drug investigations and in particular investigations involving methamphetamine and cocaine.”

Figures for domestic violence were consistent from previous years, he says. “However, the drug investigations have seen an increase,” Cox says.

“Drug use, and in particular methamphetamine, has risen dramatically across Canada and we are seeing these increases in our area as well.”

Lakeshore welcomed the RCMP dog handler in the area Aug. 25.

“With a full-time police service dog back in the area, we are finding that a number of our higher-risk investigations are made safer for the communities and our officers,” Cox says.

“We also have timely access to a valuable investigative tool.”

Police value community partnerships to help curb drugs and crime, even challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We continue to apply a community-based policing strategy,” Cox says.

However, Lakeshore has found alternative ways to maintain communications since in-person discussions and planning meetings have been limited in the COVID-19 pandemic.

“An example of this was the discussions between the communities and our police service with the significant rise in illegal drugs in the communities,” Cox says.

“In consultation with community leaders, we reallocated some of our resources to focus on specific investigations.

“As a result, we have seen numerous successful investigations and charges addressing drug trafficking in our area.”

Police also adjusted to the restrictions of COVID-19 since the pandemic started in March.

“The main impact COVID-19 has had is the manner in which we are able to interact with our communities as well as our ability to provide training opportunities for our employees,” Cox says.

Moving forward, Lakeshore police are committed to serve their communities.

“Our priorities for 2021 are to continue to increase our resources to be able to provide increased level of service to our communities to be in the best position to address emerging issues in a timely and effective manner,” Cox says.

Under the chief of police, Lakeshore has two inspectors, two sergeants, eight constables, two clerical staff and a civilian crime-prevention co-ordinator.

Cox notes that he doesn’t have access to comparison stats for 2019 to 2020 as the policing year ends March 31.

He says he would be able to compile a yearly stat comparison which comes out in June.

Lakeshore was established by the Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council that serves Driftpile First Nation, Sucker Creek First Nation, Kapawe’no First Nation, Swan River First Nation, along with Sawridge First Nation in Slave Lake.

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