Booze strategy coming as related crimes keep police busy

Matt Gardner
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Alcohol-related calls, including a pair of impaired driving incidents, occupied much of police attention in Prince Albert last weekend.

Sgt. Brandon Mudry of the Prince Albert Police Service speaks at a press conference on Monday.

The latest offences came as Community Mobilization Prince Albert (CMPA) -- having completed focus groups related to vision, strategy and potential obstacles -- draws ever closer to developing a city-wide alcohol strategy.

Addictions sector specialist Glenis Clarke estimated that a public document would likely be available by the end of September.

“All of the data from those focus groups gets compiled into a community document, and then that community document then gets shared to the broader public,” Clarke said. “So the stage we’re at right now is just in the process of putting that document together.”

The high number of arrests each weekend related to intoxication underscore the significance of the proposed strategy.

More than three-fifths of arrests made over the weekend by the Prince Albert Police Service were related to intoxicated individuals, with 26 out of 42 people arrested for public intoxication.

Meanwhile, impaired driving charges were laid against two motorists whose vehicles collided with stationary objects.

The first incident took place early on Saturday morning, when police received a report of an impaired driver. At 8:10 a.m., officers responded to a residential area near Fourth Avenue and 18th Street West for a white Oldsmobile that was driving erratically.

The vehicle had smashed into a parked truck before attempting to drive away. The noise alerted the registered owner of the truck, who detained the driver of the car until police arrived.

Following their arrival, police took the 19-year-old male driver into custody. He is now facing charges of impaired driving, exceeding .08 and breach of recognizance.

Later, at 1:01 p.m., police were dispatched to the 1700 block of 12th Avenue West after receiving a complaint of a car hitting a power pole.

Arriving on scene, police observed that the power pole was broken with a car hanging on top of the stump. They subsequently took a man who was standing outside of the driver’s side door into custody.

The downing of the power lines necessitated safety precautions, and the Prince Albert Fire Department attended the scene to help police with containment of the area.

We rely on the public to be our eyes in some cases. Sgt. Brandon Mudry

Parkland Ambulance paramedics arrived on the scene and assessed the driver as being unhurt after the accident.

Based on the results of an investigation, a 23-year-old man now faces charges of impaired operation of a motor vehicle, refusal to provide a breath sample and driving while disqualified.

The accused is set to make his first court appearance on Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 1:30 p.m. in Prince Albert Provincial Court.

Residents who directly observe impaired drivers should use the RID (Report Impaired Driving) service by calling 911, Prince Albert Police Sgt. Brandon Mudry noted.

“We consistently get RID calls … and we do see a spike of those over the weekends,” Mudry said.

“We’re thankful for that. We want the public to send those in … We rely on the public to be our eyes in some cases.”

RID calls were also a key source of data for CMPA when it issued its call to action for development of a city alcohol strategy.

While not directly involved with police enforcement initiatives, those helping to develop the alcohol strategy rank impaired driving highly in terms of issues to be addressed.

“We’re very aware that impaired driving is part of our strategy and needs to be part of our strategy,” Clarke said.

Another aspect of the strategy -- regular compliance checks by authorized agencies -- is already in effect, with the most recent inspections by the Public Safety Compliance Team occurring last week.

Looking ahead, the CMPA is considering a variety of means to present the community document detailing its proposed strategy to the public and obtain feedback -- whether through public forums or the use of social media.

“The support so far to date for the alcohol strategy with the focus groups has actually been tremendous,” Clarke said. “We’re hoping that that will continue as we move into fall and get the community document out.”

Organizations: Prince Albert, Oldsmobile, Prince Albert Fire Department

Geographic location: Fourth Avenue, 12th Avenue West, Prince Albert Provincial Court

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