Frequently Asked Questions
What is ALERT?
Established in 2006, ALERT is a non-profit corporation and a ground-breaking and ambitious example of integrated policing in Canada. No other province has a similar model. ALERT brings together nearly 400 municipal police, RCMP members, and sheriffs who work together in an integrated environment to disrupt and dismantle serious and organized crime to create safer communities for all Albertans.
How is ALERT funded?
Funding for ALERT, including the cost of policing resources, is provided primarily by the Government of Alberta. The Government of Canada also provides funding, while partner police agencies contribute a number of police positions at their own expense.
What is integrated policing?
Integrated policing is a philosophy that recognizes the value of bringing together the resources of different law enforcement agencies to combat a particular crime problem. Integration is often pursued when the nature of a crime is costly, time-consuming, and complex to investigate, and impacts multiple jurisdictions. The concept of integrated policing is central to the ALERT model. It is our defining philosophy and it is what has allowed us to experience great success since our establishment in 2006
Why do we need ALERT? Can't the municipal police and RCMP handle crime in their own communities?
ALERT’s work differs from that of municipal police or RCMP detachments. ALERT coordinates elite teams of highly-skilled police officers who work together to tackle serious and organized crime in the province. Made up officers from municipal agencies and the RCMP, ALERT teams investigate things like drug trafficking, gang violence, and child exploitation. While local police and RCMP are well equipped to handle crime in their own communities, ALERT adds value by taking a provincial, integrated approach to investigating a specific crime problem. ALERT brings together the efforts and resources of individual police agencies to create a more strategic, intelligent response.
What are some of ALERT’s achievements?
Since ALERT was established in 2006, we have arrested more than 4,000 people and laid about 12,000 charges. During the 2010 – 2011 fiscal year, ALERT was responsible for taking $115 million worth of drugs off the streets in Alberta. We laid 2,005 charges against 1,001 people. Throughout that same timeframe, ALERT seized nearly 30 kilograms of cocaine and 656 kilograms of marihuana, along with more than 100,000 marihuana plants. Our investigators also took 52 firearms off the streets as a result of targeted, organized crime investigations.
Does ALERT have teams based all across Alberta?
ALERT has teams stationed across the province – Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer. This structure allows ALERT to provide all Albertans, living in urban and rural areas, with access to a spectrum of specialized law enforcement activities.
Why is it so critical for residents to be on the lookout for signs of a marihuana grow operation?
Marihuana grow operations present significant dangers to the communities in which they are housed. These homes are not only serious fire hazards, but they also cause health risks and can lead to crime-related violence. Marihuana is often a major revenue source for organized crime groups. By targeting and shutting down these operations, ALERT has a direct impact on a group’s ability to fuel further criminal activity. ALERT seized more than 100,000 marihuana plants and 650,000 grams of marihuana during the 2010 – 2011 fiscal year.
What does the Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) team investigate?
ICE investigates offences related to the following: accessing, possession, distribution, importation and manufacturing of any child pornography and any computer-related child sexual abuse; child luring over the Internet; voyeurism involving victims under the age of 18 years; and child sex trade/tourism.
How can I get more information about protecting my children against online predators?
Visit the child exploitation section of the ALERT website where you will find signs parents should be on the lookout for, as well as a listing of websites with helpful education materials.
What does ALERT’s Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) team do?
SCAN promotes safe communities by targeting and shutting down properties that are regularly used for illegal activities related to drugs, gangs, prostitution, and child exploitation. The process starts when one or more residents of a neighbourhood file a complaint with SCAN. Complaints are confidential and the complainant’s identity will not be revealed at any time. Before taking legal action, SCAN investigators will meet with a property owner or send a warning letter to try and solve the problem informally. If informal efforts are unsuccessful, SCAN may apply to the courts for a Community Safety Order, which calls for owners to meet a number of conditions or for the property to be closed for up to 90 days.
What is civil forfeiture?
The amended Victims Restitution and Compensation Payment Act became law in the fall of 2008. It enables the provincial government to ask the court for a civil order forfeiting to the province property acquired illegally or property used to carry out illegal acts. The law seeks to take the profit out of crime and also remove the instruments, such as vehicles, that enable criminals to commit a wide variety of offences. Forfeiture describes the process where a civil court, after the initial restraint, and after all the interested parties have had a chance to make their case, orders that ownership of the property changes. The new owner could be a victim, a group of victims, or the provincial government (who will pay the revenue to victims programs).
How can I contact ALERT with a tip on criminal activity?
If you have information about a crime, submit a tip anonymously to Crime Stoppers. The program pays cash rewards for information that leads to an arrest, the recovery of stolen property, or the seizure of illegal drugs. Call 1-800-222-TIPS or visit www.crimestoppers.ab.ca where you can submit a tip online or learn how to send one via text message.
Fort McMurray residents who have information that would assist police in that area with its crackdown on gang and organized crime activity can call the team’s gang information hotline at 780-788-GANG. Calls are anonymous and kept confidential.