ST. MARY’S – In the wake of recent vandalism in Goshen and other areas of St. Mary’s, the RCMP hopes to be more visible in communities across the municipality in the coming year, says district commander for Guysborough County, Corporal Marc Michon.
“We will be more than willing to go sit with people and have a chat, especially with what happened last fall in Goshen one day when that truck was raining down on everything there,” he told the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s committee of the whole meeting on May 2.
Michon, who had just finished presenting his quarterly report on policing in the area, was responding to a suggestion from St. Mary’s Deputy Warden James Fuller, a former law enforcement officer from Vermont, who represents Goshen & Area on council.
“The Goshen Community Centre has been doing a coffee and muffin thing twice a month on Monday mornings,” Fuller said. “You wouldn’t have to make a presentation; just make an appearance. It would be like the ‘coffee and a cop program’ we had down in the United States… I think the citizens would like to see the flag every now and then.”
Said Michon: “If Goshen wants to call us, say next Monday, and asks us to send someone up just to have a sit down and a coffee [then] yeah, absolutely, send me an email so I can put it on our schedule [for] whoever is working. It will likely be me.”
In February, vandals trashed the front steps and back door of the Goshen Community Centre with what police believed to be a stolen pick-up truck that was later founded burned and abandoned in a nearby roadside ditch.
Some weeks later, mailboxes and community dumpsters were damaged or destroyed by unknown arsonists travelling along Highway 347 between the communities of Aspen and Garden of Eden.
Investigations into these incidents are underway.
Meanwhile, Michon told council last week that the RCMP’s annual performance plan for all three Guysborough County detachments in Guysborough, Sherbrooke and Canso this year focuses on community events, enhancing rural safety and crime reduction.
“This means attending community events, as well as doing joint operations with our partners, such as the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans,” he said.
“We’ll also try to increase our [highway and road] check stops this year in different locations across the entire county. It’s not that we want to increase the number of tickets, but we want keep track of them. Ultimately, our job is not to nail people, but to do some education on the road.”
He added: “We are also doing community presentations, like one to Grade 12 graduates, on such things as impaired driving. Basically, we have two new instruments to fight this. One is a mouth swab, which tests for THC, Cocaine and Methamphetamines. It’s a beautiful instrument. I love it… Also, we are doing proactive patrols in our rural communities, like Trafalgar, where quite often there is no cell phone reception.”
Other crime reduction measures will involve “doing some offender management, which means doing checks throughout the county. So, for example, in [St. Mary’s] we have some people who are on conditional order, ie., curfews, and we are required by the province, by the courts, to do checks to make sure that they abide by their curfews. We have five subjects right now through the entire county, not only Sherbrooke, that we are keeping an eye on. And we have to do reports if they are breaching [their] conditions.”
Michon noted that the had hoped to present the plan earlier, but that various schedules “didn’t fall in place for any of us. My plan now is that we have these types of meetings with council every four months. I feel that it is important [to] keep an open relationship.”