Lacombe Police Const. Vaughan Bleasdale was honoured with quite a prestigious honour over the weekend.
Bleasdale was recognized by the Alberta Citizens on Patrol Association with the Excellence in Law Enforcement Award back in September, which is only given out to one person in Alberta.
“I’m very proud. I’m a citizen of Lacombe, so I try to be as active and work as much with community groups as I can,” said Bleasdale.
He serves as the liaison between the citizen group and the Lacombe Police Force.
The award recognizes the liaison officer who works with their designated group, maintaining that balance between them and the police service.
“It’s a really great occasion in honouring one of Lacombe’s finest for this award,” said Debbi Gallant at the luncheon held at the Lacombe Police Station to honour Bleasdale’s work in the community.
The award is put out to all of the different districts to nominate one of their liaison officers, and it has to be RCMP or local police service.
“When it came to us we just felt like Vaughan presented exemplary attention to our group with time, commitment, and just everything he added to us makes us what we are today,” she said.
She said they sent in the nomination and a couple of weeks later they found out he was the recipient of the award, which was handed out in the meeting in High River back in September.
“It was a provincial award and Lacombe got it, so it’s an amazing honour to have it.”
Bleasdale started his policing career in 2008 as a military police officer in the Canadian Armed Forces.
“I did all my training in Borden, Ontario at the police academy there, and then in 2013 I left there, and after 10 years in the military total, I came to the Lacombe Police Service where I’ve been ever since,” he said.
As a liaison to the Citizens On Patrol, Bleasdale has had to implement some form of a process to get the information from the patrollers to the police service.
“What we did was we looked at radios and communications through our new communications centre in our dispatch centre in Lacombe,” he said, adding that he also did some training for all of the new members for the program.
Bleasdale said what he likes most about working in Lacombe is the size.
“You have an opportunity to make a difference in a small community. It’s always a challenge in a bigger centre; a higher call volume and less time with people.”
He said you can now be a little more involved in your investigations, in the community and with your family.
He also said when it comes to community involvement, he believes that there’s an opportunity for the citizens of Lacombe to be involved in crime prevention and crime reduction.
“It’s huge, so I encourage all the citizens of Lacombe to come out and help out in volunteering for one of the programs in the Lacombe Community Watch Association, whether its Citizens On Patrol, Block Parent or Neighbourhood Watch.”
Bleasdale said when it comes to crime in the community of Lacombe, they’ve seen a huge increase in the number of stolen vehicles, and the issue of property crime is also steady.
“Methamphetamine use is just skyrocketing right now, it’s huge,” he said.