SUNDRE – Local business owners are assured Mounties are not authorized to request copies of keys or alarm codes to access their buildings.
Speaking with the Albertan in response to concerns raised that members of the RCMP were making rounds demanding keys and codes, the Sundre detachment’s commander provided some clarification.
“No. We’re not asking. We’re not demanding. There is no demand. There is no authority for us to even request that kind of stuff,” said Sgt. Randy Poon.
Offering context, Poon confirmed that the department has over the years accumulated a collection of keys not just from business owners who opted to do so, but also local institutions such as the schools.
“Historically, what’s happened is some of the businesses have come by and just dropped off keys or told us how to get access into the compound if we need to get access into it. It’s all been all voluntary,” he said.
“The schools certainly have come and provided us their access in case we need to go in there and we can’t get ahold of anybody from the schools,” he said.
With the passage of time, the set of keys had become a “jumbled mess” and the sergeant said a member was assigned to sort through them.
“So, he’s probably going around the community asking questions and so forth and that’s all it is,” said Poon.
“We have a slug of keys and some of them may be outdated because it’s keys we’ve collected over the years and it’s just been put into a great big mess and we just want to organize what we have.”
Responding to a question about whether the RCMP would ever even ask a business owner for an alarm code or building keys, he said, “No...we don’t have the authority, we don’t have the right to ask that.”
“Sometimes the unfortunate thing is, police ask questions or something, and then the public deems it as a demand,” he said.
“I would never, never demand anything from business owners to give up anything. I don’t have the authority to do that and I’m not going to do that. And I’m not going to get my members to do that at all,” he said.
“And there is no lawful authority for us to even demand it.”
Asked what advice he might offer to anybody in a situation that leaves them feeling pressured to give up their keys or codes, the sergeant said, “If the business owner feels like one of my members is pressuring them to do it, have them call me. Because that’s not the intent; there might be some sort of miscommunication.”
Anyone with concerns is encouraged to call the local detachment during regular office hours at 403-638-3675.