COCHRANE— Cochrane RCMP officers are adjusting to the challenges of COVID-19 to ensure they can help community members in need.
Cochrane RCMP Cpl. Troy Savinkoff said his team has been working tirelessly to adapt to the new reality created by the health crisis.
“Our members have been forced to be a little more flexible then what we normally would be,” Savinkoff said. “We’re taking more precautions and we’re keeping social distancing.”
Things are going well, he said, and as of now, the Cochrane detachment is fully staffed. There have been isolations, but no members of the detachment have tested positive for COVID-19.
The station has made many adjustments to stay safe during the pandemic, he said, adding that most of these changes have had to do with ensuring the cleanliness or police cars and work stations at the beginning and end of each shift.
RCMP officers have also begun to wear personal protective equipment when appropriate.
Savinkoff added that social distancing is also maintained when responding to calls and when possible they try not to go into homes, unless it is essential, to help prevent the spread of the virus.
“If there is some concern that there might be COVID-19 in the area or an outbreak or that sort of thing then we will be fully gloving up and putting on masks prior to arrival to the call,” Savinkoff said.
The hardest challenge for many officers, Savinkoff said, is that while Alberta is in the midst of the pandemic there is no vacation or break because it is all hands on deck during the virus.
Savinkoff has been working with Town of Cochrane Councillor Marni Fedeyko to organize RCMP community parades, he said, and the events have helped boost the morale of both first responders and Cochranites.
Savinkoff said he has participated in three parades so far and the experience has been incredible and morale-boosting.
“Seeing that small-town atmosphere is pretty awesome— What I’ve seen in some of these sub-divisions almost one in three houses have people outside waving and cheering with signs,” Savinkoff said. He added that the food bank donations the parades have been able to collect have been amazing— At one parade they were able to fill three pick-up trucks with donations.
“I think it’s been a really good program for the Town and this detachment,” Savinkoff said. “The response from the community has been absolutely incredible.”
He added that it has been especially heart-warming for RCMP members to see the bench of hope create by Cochranites filled with messages and support from community members.
“It’s been pretty awesome,” Savinkoff said.
Savinkoff said the best way to support first responders right now is to keep for the community to stay on course and follow public health measures. He added that officers always appreciate a friendly hello.
“It’s always nice when you’re driving around and you get the friendly waves from people,” Savinkoff said.