RPS unit helps keep tabs on high-risk offenders, chief says

Special unit investigators work in conjunction with their counterparts from other police departments, according to the Regina police chief.

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Following a series of stabbings that left 11 people dead, questions have been raised about how Myles Sanderson could have remained unlawfully at large for months before embarking on a deadly rampage.

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And on Tuesday, at a meeting of Regina’s Board of Police Commissioners, the city’s police chief highlighted a relatively new unit that is working to keep tabs on offenders who have been released into the community.

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According to a report filed with commissioners, the Corrections Support Unit (CSU) of the Regina Police Service (RPS) “works to strengthen collaborative efforts between police, corrections and other members of the communitysecurity partners to monitor dangerous habits offenders released to the community who are at high risk of recidivism due to supervision and execution.

Evan Bray told reporters the unit can “absolutely” help police better prioritize and assess risk when dealing with large numbers of offenders living or believed to be located in the city at any given time.

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However, keeping tabs on lawbreakers is a job that has “always been done by our police department,” he said.

The unit, created in 2020 according to the report, currently consists of five police stations, including a mix of full-time and part-time work. Some officers work on investigation and surveillance, while others devote themselves to clerical duties such as processing warrant applications and probation summonses, as well as National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR) documentation and “Probation Bail Report checks.

However, when the unit was created, it was expected that it would include non-police participants. It currently includes a a member of the reintegration unit at the provincial correctional center in Regina, who works one day a week out of the PRS office, the report said.

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“We’ve taken a build-it-yourself attitude and they’ll come,” Bray said, noting that the force hopes to attract other partners at the provincial and federal levels.

Regarding the pursuit of warrants, the chief said the unit is working on people who may be considered “high-risk individuals” because there are a large number of warrants for people in Regina.

“I guess right now it’s probably around 4,000,” he said, noting that it’s part of the normal duty of front-line police to try and locate those wanted on warrants.

Currently, Bray said there are approximately 10 wanted high-risk offenders on warrant in Regina.

“Our officers, not just those in Corrections Support, but all of our officers are aware of these warrants, and active case work is underway to locate these suspects and arrest them under these warrants at any time.”

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One of the problems, Bray said, is that often people wanted on warrants are transient.

“Just because they have a warrant, from Regina or elsewhere, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re there.”

That said, Regina police can work anywhere in the province, but Bray said collaboration happens and is a matter of professional courtesy.

“Often they work with similar units or other investigators, whether it’s with the RCMP or other municipal police departments,” Bray said.

And when the unit searches for someone who may be in a different jurisdiction, the chief said investigators have conversations with their counterparts at other agencies “on a daily basis.”

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Martin E. Berry