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22 drivers pick up $300 tickets in distracted driving sting in downtown Red Deer

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News release from Red Deer RCMP

Red Deer RCMP conduct distracted driving operation

Red Deer RCMP conducted a one-day distracted driving traffic operation in downtown Red Deer that resulted in 22 violation tickets issued and three Criminal Code charges.

On July 13, officers of the Downtown Patrol Unit set up at two locations, 49 Ave and 49 St, and 50 Ave and 53 St in the downtown core. Violation tickets were issued for distracted driving, along with one ticket issued for driving the wrong way down a one-way street.

“Distracted driving can have very serious consequences, especially on Red Deer’s busiest roads,” says Cpl Dwayne Hanusich of Red Deer RCMP. “Motorists need to understand that distracted driving will not be tolerated.”

According to statistics from the CAA, distracted driving is one of the largest causes of collisions, injuries and death on Canada’s roads, contributing to 21% of fatal collisions every year. Distracted driving includes using hand-held cell phones, entering information into a GPS unit, reading, personal grooming, and other activities that take a motorist’s attention off the road.

The penalty for distracted driving is a $300 fine and three demerit points. To avoid distracted driving, motorists are encouraged to:

  • Never text or check notifications while driving, even while at a red light
  • Use hands-free or voice-activated devices
  • Don’t groom yourself (i.e. applying make up, flossing)
  • Pull over if you need to attend to a child or pet
  • Keep your eyes on the road
  • Keep two hands on the wheel at all times

The Red Deer RCMP plan to do several more distracted driving operations this summer and fall.

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Crime

More drugs and firearms seized in relation to recent Red Deer bust

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News release from the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team

More drugs and firearms were seized in Red Deer as a follow-up to an investigation that took place in late May 2024.

On June 26, 2024 ALERT Red Deer’s organized crime team searched a home and vehicle with the help of Red Deer RCMP. A planned vehicle stop was conducted and a suspect arrested, followed up with the search on a home in the Pines neighbourhood.

The seizure came on the heels of a recent drug and firearms seizure that took place in May 2024, in which a news release was issued on June 20, 2024. That seizure, which took place at a home in the Eastview neighbourhood, featured ALERT locating more than $220,000 worth of drugs and five firearms.

“Our work doesn’t stop with an arrest. ALERT remains diligent in exploring other targets and places of interest to ensure we completely dismantle drug trafficking networks,” said Insp. Brad Lundeen, ALERT Regional.

Following the Eastview seizure, ALERT continued to target the suspects and identified a second suspected drug stash location at a home in the Pines.

A search of the Pines home and vehicle yielded approximately $70,000 worth of drugs, including:

  • 5 firearms;
  • 655 grams of methamphetamine;
  • 50 grams of cocaine;
  • 19 grams of fentanyl; and
  • $5,540 cash.

One of the firearms, a rifle, had its serial number defaced. None of the firearms were lawfully possessed and will be sent to ALERT’s Provincial Firearms Solutions Lab for ballistics testing and analysis.

Charges have yet to been laid from either investigation but several suspects have been identified. The investigation remains ongoing as investigators prepare reports and disclosure for Crown Counsel.

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.

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Alberta Sheriffs Branch

ASIRT releases results of investigation into “unjustifiable use of force” by Red Deer RCMP member

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News release from the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT)

IN THE MATTER OF AN INJURY INVOLVING RED DEER RCMP ON JUNE 4, 2020

Circumstances Surrounding the Incident

On June 4, 2020, witness officer #1 (WO1) attempted to stop a white Lexus GS300 in Red Deer for improper window tint at approximately 1 p.m. The affected person (AP), who was driving the Lexus and was prohibited from driving at that time, did not stop and instead drove off at high speed. WO1 did not pursue the AP but passed along the vehicle description to other officers.

Over the next 40 minutes, WO1 and other officers attempted to stop the AP. The AP left and re-entered Red Deer. At one point, a spike belt was used successfully and one of the Lexus’ rear tires was deflated. The AP continued to not stop for police and drive dangerously inside the city.

At approximately 1:50 p.m., the SO began following the AP. The SO was a K9 officer and had a police service dog with him. The AP continued from the residential area into the McKenzie Trails area, which is a park. The AP continued to drive very fast and dangerously. When the AP reached a dead end on a road, he drove through the trees onto another adjacent roadway. The SO continued to closely follow the AP to attempt intentional vehicle contact and stop the AP.

The AP then accelerated again and went off the road and into the grass briefly. He was unable to make the next turn and hit rocks along the outside of the turn. He continued off the road into light trees and passed over a pedestrian walkway with the SO following. He then hit a log, stopped, and immediately got out of the vehicle (Figure 1).

Figure 1 – SO’s vehicle video showing the AP exiting his vehicle.

The AP started to run away from the SO (Figure 2).

Figure 2 – SO’s vehicle video showing the AP running away.

The SO continued forward, turned slightly to the left, and hit the AP on the front passenger side (Figure 3).

Figure 3 – SO’s vehicle video showing the AP being hit.

The time from the AP’s first foot being on the ground to the SO striking the AP is approximately 1.5 seconds.

The AP then briefly disappears to the passenger side of the SO’s vehicle. He then runs away from the SO in the same direction. The SO released his dog and he and the dog ran after the AP.

The dog caught up to the AP first and bit the AP’s clothing. The AP and the dog went into the river. The SO and witness officer #2 (WO2) caught up to them and saw that the AP was in fast-flowing deep water. WO2 jumped into the river and brought the AP out.

The AP was then arrested.

Emergency medical services paramedics treated the AP. According to their medical records, the AP told them that he had broken his ankles when he was running from police and stepped in a hole.

Affected Person (AP)

ASIRT investigators interviewed the AP on October 15, 2020. He stated that, when the SO hit him, he flew six feet into the air and his ankles were broken from the collision.

Subject Officer (SO)

ASIRT investigators interviewed the SO on September 9, 2020. This statement consisted of a written statement and follow-up questions. The SO provided a full account of the incident, with the most relevant portions summarized below.

The SO, just prior to the AP stopping, was trying to get into position to intentionally contact the AP’s vehicle and stop him. When the AP stopped, he intended to contact the vehicle and prevent the AP from moving further. The AP then exited the vehicle and he turned to the left to avoid him. As he brought his vehicle to a stop, he unintentionally contacted the AP.

Analysis

If the SO intentionally contacted the AP with his vehicle, it would likely be an unjustifiable use of force. When a police officer contacts a person with their vehicle, the likelihood of grievous bodily harm or death is high since the person may be run over or knocked to the ground forcefully.

In this incident, however, there is insufficient evidence to conclude that the SO intentionally contacted the AP with his vehicle. The video from the SO’s vehicle shows that the time from the AP putting a foot down to the AP being hit was 1.5 seconds. During this time, the SO was turning away from the AP.

The AP’s evidence was embellished. He did not fly six feet into the air, and his claim that his broken ankles were caused by the collision are contradicted by him telling paramedics that day that he broke them stepping in a hole.

Conclusion

On June 4, 2020, the AP was driving dangerously in Red Deer. He then drove into a park to evade police and drove in a manner that risked the lives of park users. When his vehicle finally stopped, he began to run and was struck by the SO. There is insufficient evidence to conclude that the SO intended to hit him.

Given that there is insufficient evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an offence was committed.

Original signed June 27, 2024
Matthew Block
Assistant Executive Director

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