As the community bids farewell to Sgt.Curtis Hoople, a successor from across the river has stepped in to take his place, and she is happy to be patrolling a beat once again.
Sgt. Katie Davies joined Edmonton Police Service’s (EPS’) northwest division in January to lead the beat team covering Alberta Avenue and parts of the Eastwood, Elmwood Park, and Parkdale neighbourhoods.
“We dedicate ourselves purely to this area,” Davies said. “Because we’re responsible for a smaller geographical region, we can really explore the issues and problems unique to that area.”
As head of the team, Davies ensures her six-constable crew has the resources they need to police their beat—from meeting community stakeholders to working with other EPS teams (like the vice unit) to crack down on sex trade on 118 Avenue.
In March, the beat team assisted with a three-day sting operation that laid 26 charges ranging from trafficking a controlled substance to communication for the purpose of obtaining sexual services.
“We specifically organized the arrest teams for people trying to secure the services of prostitutes on the street,” she said.
Formerly a detective with the professional standards branch, Davies spent the last seven years investigating citizens’ complaints against EPS and its members. But before that, she served as a constable on the Whyte Avenue beat.
“That’s where I got my zest for beat work,” she admitted. “I had a huge interest in returning to the street, working the front lines, and being in an operational capacity.”
Having walked a beat, and now enjoying her 15th year on the force, Davies said she understands the importance of stakeholder voices in community policing. Because most complaints are funnelled through EPS’s busy complaint line, one of her first acts on the job has been to open a new channel for community feedback.
“These people are the best at knowing what the problems are in the area,” she said. “Sometimes it’s difficult to get through, and the wait times are long, so we wanted to alleviate that by establishing a beat email address that all of my officers have the ability to check at any time.”
Through the email address, community members can drop beat constables a quick and anonymous line to report problems or concerns that don’t require immediate assistance or an emergency response.
Besides greater accessibility, Davies said she hopes residents will take the opportunity to approach her team, often seen walking or cycling on the street, with their questions or concerns.
“If there’s some kind of initiative or project or even just to say hello, that’s what we’re here for,” Davies said. “We encourage that as much as possible.”
Residents, businesses, and stakeholders can reach northwest division beat officers by email at [email protected].
To contact EPS for general questions and complaints, call 780.423.4567.
Feature image: Sgt. Katie Davies joins the northwest division as the new beat sergeant on Alberta Avenue.| Hamdi Issawi