Tuesday, February 1, 2011  
   Volume 81 - Issue 5 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“We need to protect and conserve the water in the area.”
- Dale Paton  
- Conservation Biologist   
   

 

 
Constable Jesse Morrison recently joined the Crowsnest Pass RCMP, replacing Constable Lorne Gopp, who transferred to Pincher Creek in December.
Morrison, who has lived in several communities all over the province, said when the opportunity arose to transfer to the Crowsnest Pass, it was his first choice.
“There is nowhere else in Alberta where you are in the mountains, but still close to major city centres, and also so close to the States, but the cost of living is still relatively cheap,” said Morrison, who moved to Blairmore on December 4th and began his first shift on December 19th.
Morrison spent the first five years of his RCMP career policing reserve communities in central and northern Alberta.
His first post was a two-year stint in Hobbema , a community 80 kilometres northeast of Red Deer, which straddles four First Nations reserves: the Ermineskin Cree Nation, Samson Cree Nation, Louis Bull Tribe, and Montana First Nation reservations.
The community has received an onslaught of attention from the media over the past few years, as a result of issues with illegal activity and gang violence.
In April 2008, a two-year-old was critically injured by a teenage gunman in a drive-by shooting, and police are constantly responding to reports of illegal.
In Line
"I've never lived anywhere like the Crowsnest Pass"
- Constable Jesse Morrison  
In Line
possession of weapons, drug and tobacco busts, and other incidents and violent crimes. “Hobbema was kind of a double edged sword,” said Morrison. “I was always super busy, and it was very exciting to work in that kind of environment, but the violence in Hobbema was probably the worst part.”
He said there is more of a reactive policing response in Hobbema, with high call volumes and a lot of serious cases.
After Hobbema, he was transferred to Fort Chipewyan, a hamlet 223 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, approximately 200 kilometres south of the Alberta-Northwest Territories border, and just on the east edge of Wood Buffalo National Park.
“Fort Chip was a somewhat slower pace,” said Morrison, who spent three years in the community. “We did get some serious calls, but they were more sporadic. We usually only got one per week to once a month.”
He said the community was very supportive of its law enforcement, but that it was difficult to have anonymity there, as he was on a first-name-basis with almost everyone in the community.
He added that it was also very hard to deal with the isolation at first.
There are no all-weather roads in Fort Chipewyan, and during the winter months, the community can only be accessed by air or by ice roads from Fort McMurray and Fort Smith, NWT.
 
This, in turn, also drives up the cost of attaining basic human needs.
“Paying $12 for a 4-litre jug of milk was a little harsh,” said Morrison.
Pass Powderkeg
Kimberley Massey photo
Constable Jesse Morrison is the newest addition to the Crowsnest Pass RCMP, transferring from Fort Chipewyan, and replacing Constable Lorne Gopp, who has transferred to Pincher Creek.
He said both Fort Chipewyan and Hobbema were good posts, and he enjoyed his time at both and learned a lot, but was excited for the opportunity to police a different type of community.
“The Crowsnest Pass has different demographics and socioeconomic problems, and there is a lot more to be involved in here,” he said. “I’ve been doing a lot more traffic enforcement than I have ever done.”
He said another major draw and benefit of the Crowsnest Pass is the increased quality of life.
Morrison and his wife, a fellow RCMP officer stationed in Elk Valley, were married in December, and he says they are now looking down the road toward starting a family.
“This community is much more family friendly, which is one of the reasons we wanted to move here,” he said. “Even Fernie has too much of a transient population and not a lot of young families.”
Morrison took an aboriginal community policing course in Grouard, Alta. near High Prairie, before completing his post secondary education at Lethbridge College in the Criminal Justice program.
After graduation, he was recruited to the RCMP and sent to Regina for training, before beginning his career at the age of 22.
The now 28-year-old grew up mainly in the Stoney Plain and Spruce Grove areas, but has also lived in Lethbridge, around Calgary, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Peace River, High Prairie, and other communities.
“But I’ve never lived anywhere like the Crowsnest Pass,” said Morrison. “Every day here is kind of a new experience, just because it is so different.”
He said one of the major highlights of his career was being part of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay security team, when he escorted the torch across the Prairie Provinces.
“I got to work with police from all across Canada, like the Ontario Provincial Police and Vancouver Police Service,” he said. “It was cool to get the chance to work with other organizations.”
In addition, he said, he got to experience a new community every day, and each community threw a party.
“It was just a blast,” he said. “I got to be a rock star for a little over a month.”
Morrison says he looks forward to serving the communities of the Crowsnest Pass and experiencing all the recreational opportunities the area has to offer.
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   Volume 81 - Issue 5 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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