A BBQ in recognition of National Police Week was held in Blackfalds to support emergency services personnel in Central Alberta.
Becky Wile Jardine, vice president of the Red Deer/Lacombe Rural Community Crime Watch and head of the Justice Studies Program at Red Deer College, said the proceeds of the fundraiser are going to Victims Services.
“We want to get people aware of emergency services and also so we can say thank you to our emergency services personnel who go out on a daily basis to protect us,” she said. “It is important because they sacrifice a lot.
“I am a retired RCMP officer and I was in the RCMP for 22 years. I served all across Canada and I know that every day you put your uniform on might be the last day you put your uniform on based on the fact that emergency services work is dangerous at the best of times.”
Wile Jardine said many factors including the economy and the opioid epidemic have led to added dangers for first responders in central Alberta.
“We just came back from a crime prevention conference in Canmore and they were talking about crystal meth is very prolific in Alberta and it is spreading around the province,” she said. “People who are high on crystal meth — their common sense is not really there. They may do something and not even realize they have done it.
“Those are things that people have to be very aware of, especially first responders.”
Wile Jardine said the purpose of the Rural Community Crime Watch is to help citizens protect their selves from crime.
“We want to make sure they know it is important to report crime to the police, no matter how trivial it may be,” she said. “You don’t have to call 9-1-1, but at least call the complaint line and let them know.
“That one little piece of the puzzle may be what the police need to get someone charged. Every little piece of information counts.”
Wile Jardine added it is important to, “Support our emergency services personnel and realize that police officers and emergency services personnel are people too.
“It is a tough job and not a lot of people want to put the uniform on.”