2015 proved to be a busy and challenging year for the Lacombe Police Service (LPS). Calls for service have risen 20% since 2013 with significant increases in several areas last year.
In addition to almost 7,000 calls for service over the year, during the last six weeks of 2015, LPS responded to an armed robbery, an aggravated assault, a violent home invasion and a homicide. These are the types of crimes typically unheard of in Lacombe but reflect the trends being experienced in Central Alberta to which Lacombe is not immune. 2015 also saw four LPS cruisers rammed by fleeing suspects in stolen vehicles and a LPS officer struck by two suspects fleeing from a theft in a stolen vehicle.
“It is not just the increase in calls, but the nature of the calls that places the greatest strain on our resources” said LPS Chief Steve Murray. “These types of investigations are far more serious and complex in nature and require significantly more time and resources to properly investigate and successfully prosecute the offender. I am particularly concerned with the callousness and disregard for the lives, safety and property of others exhibited by these offenders towards victims and the police”
Factors such as a growing community, the weak economy and the stresses on individuals and families are becoming very evident in the types of calls LPS are being called to respond to.
“While the 2015 trends are alarming, Lacombe remains a safe and desirable community,” said Murray. “We are building important partnerships with community groups and social agencies to look at root causes of crime and how we could be more effective at preventing and addressing those causes.”
LPS has already begun reviewing its business plan to ensure that service delivery strategies align with the changing nature and complexities of these investigations.
“We are extremely grateful City council has maintained our funding levels and invested in critical infrastructure changes including the new police facility, police dispatch and electronic fingerprinting for volunteer screening that will allow us to serve the community better,” said Murray. “We will now be working closely with the Lacombe Police Commission to see how best to allocate our operational budget funds to deliver effective and efficient policing services to the citizens of Lacombe in light of the trends and challenges we currently face.”