Police from Saskatoon, Regina to go to P.A. in wake of crime spike

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Prince Albert has recorded six homicides in 2022, including two in one day on May 28.

Prince Albert recorded his fifth and sixth homicides of 2022 on May 28. Postmedia

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Police officers from Saskatoon and Regina and members of the Saskatchewan RCMP who are part of provincial crime reduction teams will be in Prince Albert to help address a recent spike in violent crime, which includes two homicides last Saturday.

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The crime reduction teams funded by the province can be sent to parts of Saskatchewan where there is a surge in crime. The province’s nine crime reduction teams are made up of members of city police and RCMP.

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When Prince Albert police reached out to say they’re “tapped thin” due to the recent rise in incidents, Regina police agreed to help. Regina’s Chief Evan Bray said sending officers is not just about supporting Prince Albert police — it’s one community supporting another.

“We’re a small province; we have very strong relationships between communities in our province. And I know the effect that two serious events like homicides can have on a community — and that’s a community the size of Regina, let alone a smaller community like Prince Albert,” Bray said.

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“It has a devastating effect in a lot of different ways. That’s a lot of trauma, that’s a lot of heartbreak for a community to endure and there’s lots of work for a police service when those sorts of incidents happen.”

Regina police will send eight to 10 officers from its crime reduction team and Combined Traffic Services Saskatchewan unit, which Bray said should not have any major effect on service delivery in Regina.

Prince Albert recorded his fifth and sixth homicides of 2022 on May 28. Police have made arrests in four of the six homicides this year in the city of nearly 38,000.

The two homicides that day involved a 47-year-old man identified as Barry Pruden, and an unidentified 32-year-old man. A 15-year-old boy, who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, is charged with second-degree murder in connection with Pruden’s death.

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Prince Albert police have also seen calls for service increase year-to-date over the same period last year: 18,895 so far in 2022 compared to 18,516 over the same time period in 2021.

“The resource challenges we are experiencing and the rise in violent crime we are seeing has impacted the safety and security of residents and families. We appreciate the support from our partners and value the positive and collaborative relationships that have enabled a quick response to help our community,” Prince Albert Police Chief Jonathan Bergen said in a statement.

Saskatoon police have not yet sent officers to Prince Albert but are consulting with PA police to determine what it needs, police spokesperson Joshua Grella said, adding that supporting Prince Albert will not affect the availability of officers to respond in Saskatoon.

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  1. Saskatoon police.

    Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert to get Crime Reduction Teams similar to RCMP

  2. RCMP Crime Reduction Team Corporal Tyler Zrymiak in his patrol vehicle in Onion Lake First Nations on Wednesday, July 17, 2019.

    On the road: Communication in communities key for RCMP’s Crime Reduction Team

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