ATHABASCA - If you’ve ever bought or sold something off a local community group, chances are you’ve encountered someone who, for whatever reason, was a bit off-putting.
As part of an initiative across the entire Eastern Alberta District, the Athabasca RCMP is encouraging the community to take advantage of the Safe Exchange Zone (SEZ), located in front of the local detachment.
“These safe exchange zones will provide a safer place for citizens to safely meet while making sales, purchases and exchanges including custody and visitation arrangements,” said Staff Sgt. Mark Hall of the Athabasca RCMP.
Hall encouraged the public to take advantage of the spot, which has been around for years but never formally made public.
“It’s something that “K” Division has put together, they want us all on the program,” said Hall. “We’ve had the signs up for as long as I’ve been here, but it’s been used very rarely so far.”
While the SEZ isn’t explicitly monitored by the detachment, and the spot doesn’t have surveillance cameras, the RCMP say officers are able to assist should an issue arise.
“We really want to keep it to the general purpose, it’s for families to exchange kids if someone buys something online, they can go there, it’s well-lit,” said Hall. “If there’s a contentious family issue going on, it’s best to meet them in that kind of environment, or anything where you don’t know the person you’re meeting with and want to bring it to the detachment.”
The SEZ can be found on the south side of the Athabasca RCMP detachment, at 3402 48 Ave. General services at the detachment are available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.