By Cole Parkinson
As the path to becoming a full-fledged society becomes closer, the local division of Rural Crime Watch (RCW) is staying the course as they wait patiently.
The South Central Rural Crime Watch Society has been visiting council’s in the region and they were in Municipal District of Taber council chambers on Oct. 8 to update councillors on the progress of the group.
“We are still waiting for our society number. All of a sudden the corporate registry sent us a letter saying ‘we want a letter from the president from the Alberta provincial Rural Crime Watch’ because we are using Rural Crime Watch Association, it is too much the same as the Alberta one. The president sent the letter so it is back up in registry and we’re just waiting for the number and then we will have our charter pretty quick,” explained Kevin O’Grady, president of South Central Rural Crime Watch, who also touched on the reception they have received in terms of how fast the group has been set up. “Even provincially, they are shocked at how we seem to be growing down here.”
With the group originating in the M.D. of Taber, their main focus to begin with will be on the nearby municipalities and getting residents informed on what the group is all about.
“Barnwell and Vauxhall also want rural crime watch within their communities so we have to figure out how to work that because usually you are putting signs out on farms and stuff. We’ll have to brainstorm on how to do that,” added O’Grady.
Once a steady membership is established in the Taber region, there is a possibility to expand further into other areas, and O’Grady says some municipalities have reached out to discuss that opportunity.
“We also have the potential for synergies with Warner and the Eastern part of (Lethbridge County) because they have interest but we are concentrating on our area first,” he said. “I thought there was a big push across the province but there have been a few areas that have never moved.”
Another big positive for the local RCW program is the introduction of the South Central Alberta Regional Notification System (SCAR).
SCAR was created to provide residents with a more timely and consistent approach to emergency/communications in the region, and was born from partnerships formed between the Municipal District of Taber, Town of Vauxhall, Village of Barnwell, Taber/Vauxhall RCMP and the new South Central Alberta Rural Crime Watch Association.
With the program going online on Oct. 1, the RCW group believes SCAR is a huge benefit in getting their messages out quickly.
“SCAR, actually for us, is a huge benefit. We won’t have to worry about setting up a website, Facebook pages and other stuff. Our notifications will be out instantly and it is controlled locally which is a big difference because now when you put it up, it is up right away,” said O’Grady. “This SCAR is a huge benefit because they can sign up and get the information that we would receive in our area.”
With funding likely needed for the group, O’Grady stated they would be exploring various fundraising opportunities to cover some of their costs.
He also stated further open houses are being planned in communities such as Vauxhall, Barnwell, Enchant, Grassy Lake and Hays.