FPM Week 2: Identify Theft / Fraud

March 2023 marks the 19th anniversary of Fraud Prevention Month in Canada, a month-long crime prevention initiative aimed at educating and informing consumers and the community on how to recognize, report, and stop fraud.

The theme of this week is a focus identify theft and fraud, which is unfortunately is common way individuals are scammed. Scammers will use a variety of technique to gain your information. Once they have your valuable personal details, they will use it to their financial advantage.

One common method is phishing techniques, either by phone or email, where they pretend to be legitimate businesses, government officials, your relatives, or even the police, and will try to collect personal information such as credit card, driver’s licenses, social insurance, passport numbers.

Once they obtain that personal information, they may try to use it to open bank accounts or take out loans/credit cards in your name. At times, scammers may even steal mail belonging to other people in order to collect personal information. Although this isn’t as typical now, it can still happen.

If your personal data is compromised, please notify your local police service and contact agencies such as Equifax and Transunion to flag your personal information.

There are several ways to protect yourself from falling victim to these scams:

• Never respond to unsolicited requests from a company by phone or email requesting personal information.

• If you receive a notification that you have won a prize from a contest that you have never participated in, you didn’t win. Do not respond.

• If you receive a request from a company you are currently involved with, whether you work for them or are a client and they are requesting money or personal information, contact your local branch of that institution directly to ensure it is legitimate.

• If you receive unsolicited mail, either via email or regular mail, do your research on the company before conducting business with them. The Better Business Bureau is a great resource to confirm if they are a legitimate business with a positive reputation.

The best rule of thumb to protect yourself is to always be skeptical. Educate yourself on ways to protect your money and seek advice if you are concerned that something might be a scam. The police can always be contacted for advice in regards to potential frauds. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website ( is a great resource and contains information about many different fraud types.

Media Contact:

Sgt Adam Gregory
Medicine Hat Police Service
Community Support Unit
Ph: 403-529-8451


Be The Change Award - Women in Business Committee

On March 8, 2022, International Women’s Day, the Medicine Hat Police Service (MHPS) pledged to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of individuals in the community (Medicine Hat & surrounding area) who lead, inspire, and motivate women and work to break the bias towards advancing gender equity. Each month the MHPS, in partnership with the Medicine Hat Police Association, selects a local individual(s) to highlight with the “Be The Change” award, and celebrate the achievements of these individuals who are catalysts for change in our community.

This month, a dedicated group of Medicine Hat Businesswomen, Women In Business Committee have been chosen as the recipient of the MHPS “Be the Change Award.” The Women In Business committee has a long history in our community of bringing women in business together so that they can network, grow and empower others.

The Medicine Hat Women In Business Committee is a non-profit society that was formed in 2001 when five forward thinking female professionals recognized a need for business training, workshops and speakers that connected women in the community. The founders specifically sought out opportunities for female business professionals to network. While the membership has evolved over time, the goals of the committee have remained the same, with a focus on connecting diverse groups of women and building relationships.

Today, Cori Stodolka chairs the committee and is supported by a dedicated group of 12 volunteers from various backgrounds in businesses and organizations. The diversity of the committee attests to their commitment to continual growth and improvement of women in business in Medicine Hat. Current members represent the construction, health care, fitness, automotive, marketing, photography, and design industries to name a few. There are also entrepreneurs who provide support and encouragement to others wanting to chase their dreams in business.

Over the past 22 years the Women in Business committee has hosted numerous events, seminars, and networking opportunities for women in our community. Today the committee hosts three to four annual events including a Wine and Cheese, the Women In Business Expo, Empowerment Day, and the Inspire Luncheon. Each event offers a unique opportunity to empower, inspire and connect attendees.

Women In Business Committee, thank you for paving the way for businesswomen in our community and creating a space for women to grow, be inspired and connect with others on the same journey. We acknowledge and thank the committee for their long-standing commitment to being the change in our community.

Media Contact:

Rita Sittler

Administrative Services Manager

Medicine Hat Police Service

Ph: 403-529-8416


Fraud Prevention Month

March 2023 marks the 19th anniversary of Fraud Prevention Month in Canada, a month-long crime prevention initiative aimed at educating and informing consumers and the community on how to recognize, report, and stop fraud.

Each year, thousands of Canadians of all ages and from all walks of life are defrauded, costing Canadians hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Medicine Hat citizens are part of these statistics.

According to recent data released by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, over $530 million in losses were reported in 2022, and that it is estimated that only 5% to 10% of victims of fraud report to the CAFC. The Medicine Hat Police Service responded to 470 calls for service related to frauds last year.

Consumers have a role to play in stopping fraud by arming themselves with the facts and reporting fraud when they encounter it. Recognizing fraud is the first step to better protecting yourself. It is important for consumers to remain vigilant and aware of the many different types of fraud scams out there as they are ever changing, and new trends are always emerging.

Throughout the month, the Medicine Hat Police Service Community Support Unit will be sharing information on how to recognize and stop from falling victim to common frauds and scams. This week will focus on online scams and fraud, which are among the most frequently reported.

Scammers will sometimes take advantage of online marketplaces to sell items they don’t possess. Typically, they will request a down payment or full payment up front and then the item is never provided to the purchaser. In some cases, scammers will present people with employment or investment opportunities that are very appealing but require a fee first before reaping the rewards. This fee may be requested in the form of an e-transfer, code from a gift card or another online currency.

With the emergence of crypto currencies, fraudsters have been given another tool to attempt to commit fraud with. Crypto currencies are a type of currency without government or bank control. This has made it increasingly difficult for people to contact someone directly to confirm that a transaction is legitimate.

In general, most companies will not request payment for goods or services in the form of gift card codes, or deposits into crypto currencies. As many of the scammers are not located in Canada, once the money is transferred it is extremely difficult to investigate and hold anyone accountable.

Other traditional scams will use mass marketing or phishing scams and lure victims through investment opportunities in crypto currency. The fraudsters will either have victims purchase crypto currency and send it as an investment or send the fraudster real money for them to purchase crypto currency. Either way once the fraudster receives the funds the victim will never see a return.

Remember, if an investment opportunity comes out of the blue and appears to be too good to be true, it likely is. Always be vigilant, ensure you trust the person or company that you are investing your money with, and research the crypto currency yourself to understand how it works and before getting involved with it.

If you are ever concerned that something is not legitimate, do not engage and always remember that government agencies such as the Canada Revenue Agency, Canada Border Service Agency will never ask for gift cards or bitcoin as a form of payment.

For more information on common frauds and scams visit the Canada Anti-Fraud Centre website 

Media Contact:

Sgt Adam Gregory
Community Support Unit
Medicine Hat Police Service
Ph: 403-529-8451



Traffic Advisory

Traffic Advisory:

The Traffic Unit will be assisting with an Over Dimensional Load escort today March 2, 2023 at 9:00 am.

The OD Load will be coming from Bromley Mechanical (925 25 St. SW) to Highway #1 (Redcliff) west town limits. The southwest industrial area and both the highway #1 west and east bound lanes will be impacted by the movement of the equipment.

Please try to avoid this area if possible, if not able to avoid the area please obey all police officer and pilot vehicle directions.

Thank you!


Request for Public Assistance

UPDATE:  Thank you to everyone who shared.  Police have confirmed the child is OK.  No further action required or information will be released.


On February 16, 2023, at 4:50 PM the Medicine Hat Police Service received a report from a concerned person who observed an adult male occupant of a maroon-colored van grab a young female and pull her into the van that was in the 0 block of 8 Street SE of Medicine Hat, AB.

The female is described as Caucasian, approximately 12 years old, with light brown hair and wearing black shorts and t-shirt. The van is described as maroon in colour and possibly a Chrysler mini van. It is unknown at this time if the female was known to the male.

While the Medicine Hat Police Service has not received a missing person report for a person matching the description of the female, police are currently seeking information from the public that could assist in this investigation. Anyone who observed this event or can identify the persons involved, is asked to contact the MHPS at 403-529-8481.

Media Contact:

S/Sgt Rod Thompson
Patrol Section
Medicine Hat Police Service
Ph: 403-529-8461


Operation Cold Start

Operation Cold Start, a province-wide initiative aimed at reducing cases of auto theft during the colder months, when often vehicles are stolen while they are left idling. While it can be tempting to start your vehicle and leave it running to ensure it is warm before you set our on your drive, it only takes seconds for thieves to take advance of the opportunity to steal a vehicle.

“Auto theft is a serious national problem that threatens public safety and continues to affect our local communities,” says Sid Kingma, Director, Western Canada, Équité Association – a not-for-profit organization that partners with law enforcement and Canadian insurers to fight insurance fraud and protect Canadians through advanced analytics, intelligence best practices, and coordinated investigations.

To further assist Albertans, below are some tips to help keep their vehicles safe:

• Use a remote starter or stay with your vehicle as it warms up

• Remember that push button equipped vehicles can still be driven without the key present.

• Never leave your keys inside your vehicle

• Don’t leave a running vehicle unattended

• Never leave children or pets inside a vehicle

• Use a steering wheel lock

• Keep your vehicle locked at all times

• Remove garage door openers from your vehicle


Drug & Weapons Offences

Proactive patrols led to a significant seizure of Fentanyl and methamphetamine.

On January 28, 2023, at approximately 3:15 AM a member of the Medicine Hat Police Service Patrol Section was patrolling in the area of Redcliff Drive SW and conducted a traffic stop. The lone male driver, identified as John Elford, was found to be in breach of a pre-trial release condition. Elford, age 52, of Edmonton, AB was subsequently taken into custody and a further investigation of the vehicle resulted in a seizure of the following drugs and weapons:

  • 2,972 grams of Fentanyl
  • 83.84 grams of methamphetamine
  • 2 rifles
  • 1 semi-automatic shot gun
  • $3,185 cash

A Judicial Interim Release Hearing was held where Elford was charged with the following offences:

  • Three counts of breach of release conditions
  • Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking Fentanyl
  • Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking Methamphetamine
  • Six counts of firearms related offences
  • Proceeds of Crime

Elford was remanded into custody and is scheduled to appear in court on January 31, 2023.

The street value of the Fentanyl seized is estimated at $594,000 and is the largest single seizure of the illicit drug in Medicine Hat to date. More importantly, the removal of these dangerous substances from the street will have a positive impact on community safety. It is estimated that 1 gram of Fentanyl equates to 10 doses to the average drug user, meaning that this seizure has removed approximately 29,720 doses of Fentanyl from our community. The estimated dosage rates are derived from police investigators deemed by the Courts as experts in the field of drug consumption rates specific to Fentanyl.

“This file highlights once again the value of patrol officers having the time and training to conduct proactive policing initiatives such as traffic stops,” says MHPS Inspector Brent Secondiak. “While this person was not from our community, we recognize that due to our geographic location there can be large quantities of illicit drugs passing through the city. We commend this officer for the diligent investigation conducted which has had a significant, positive impact on community safety. Job well done!”

Media Contact:

Rita Sittler
Administrative Services Manager
Medicine Hat Police Service
Ph: 403-529-8416


Firearms, Stolen Property Recovered

Various firearms and weapons have been seized from a home in Cypress County following an investigation into stolen property by ALERT Medicine Hat’s regional property crime unit.

In December 2022, ALERT began investigating a report of a stolen recreational vehicle and trailer. The theft occurred in the Redcliff area and ALERT worked with the Medicine Hat Police Service and Redcliff RCMP.

The stolen recreational vehicle, worth approximately $27,000, was later located on a property in Cypress County. A search warrant was executed on the property on January 4, 2023, and the following items were seized:

• 2013 Polaris RZR 900;

• Two crossbows;

• Six rifles;

• Three shotguns; and

• Various rounds of ammunition.

One of the firearms had its serial number defaced. ALERT is conducting a follow-up investigation to determine how they were acquired.

“These weapons had all been left in plain sight, stored carelessly throughout the garage. Some of the guns our officers seized were also found loaded, which could have been a very dangerous situation if they had ended up in the wrong hands,” said Acting S/Sgt. David Gornisiewicz, ALERT Medicine Hat.

The suspect is bound by two firearms prohibition, including a lifetime ban on possession of a firearm, crossbow, restricted weapons, ammunition or explosive substances.

Denver Ailsby, 44-years old of Cypress County, was at his home on the property at the time and was taken into custody without incident. He is facing a total of 61 charges, including:

• Possession of stolen property over $5,000;

• Possess firearm alter / deface serial number;

• Breaching prohibition order (10 year) x13;

• Breaching prohibition order (lifetime) x13;

• Possession of firearm without license x10;

• Careless storage of firearm x11; and

• Possession of a weapon dangerous to the public x12.

Ailsby has been released and is awaiting a court date scheduled for January 31, 2023.

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Mike Tucker
Communications Director
Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT)


Missing Person Update

The Medicine Hat Police Service regrets to report that Jennifer Chemelli-Magnus, who was reported missing on December 30, 2022, was located deceased this morning. The investigation into her death is still ongoing, however it is considered a non-criminal matter and no further information will be released.

We offer our condolences to her family and friends during this difficult time. The MHPS would also like to thank everyone who assisted with the search for Jennifer.

Media Contact:
S/Sgt Jason Graham
Criminal Investigation Section
Medicine Hat Police Service
Ph: 403-529-8421


Change of Command

A change of command ceremony was held at the Medicine Hat Cypress Center this afternoon, and Alan Murphy was officially sworn in as the 24th Chief of the Medicine Hat Police Service. Chief Murphy had been acting as the Interim Chief of Police since October 12, 2022 and was permanently appointed to the position by the Medicine Hat Police Commission on December 5, 2022.

Prior to his appointment Chief Murphy previously served as a member of the Edmonton Police Service for over 27 years, where he demonstrated his abilities as seasoned leader throughout a successful and progressive policing career reaching the rank of Deputy Chief of Police.

The ceremony began with the MHPS Ceremonial Team, led by a piper marching in the Service Colours followed by the Medicine Hat College Girls’ Choir singing of the national anthem. Elder Charlie Fox of the Kainai Nation then offered a traditional blessing.

Chief Murphy then swore to and signed an oath of allegiance and office which was administered by Honourable Judge Ted Fischer. In Alberta, all police officers are required to swear and oath of allegiance and office. The oath provides the opportunity for an officer, to declare, under law, that they will execute their duties diligently, ethically, and with the highest level of integrity. Officers are required to complete this oath up to two times in their career, once as they begin their journey in law enforcement and again upon promotion to the position of Chief of Police. Completing the oath as the Chief serves as a reminder of the importance of policing fairly and without prejudice and maintaining the trust of the public.

During the ceremony remarks were provided by Medicine Hat Police Commission Chair Ted Rodych, City of Medicine Hat Mayor Linnsie Clark, Assistant Deputy Minister of Public Security and Director of Law Enforcement Marlin Degrand, and Member of Parliament Glen Motz.

Chief Murphy then expressed his appreciation for the opportunity and shared his top priorities for both the service and the community. Internally Chief Murphy spoke to an enhanced focus on wellness programming for police officers their families to address the impact of the trauma experienced in the execution of their duties serving the community. “Our members cannot effectively care of their community if they are also in need of care,” said Chief Murphy. Externally, Chief Murphy committed to “finding solutions to address the increased crime and disorder that is often linked to mental health and addiction issues in the community.” Appreciating that these complex social issues cannot be solved by a traditional police response alone, Chief Murphy pledged to work with community partners, social agencies, and all levels of government to find lasting solutions.

The ceremony was well attended with over 200 in attendance and was followed by a short reception.

Congratulations Chief Murphy and welcome to Medicine Hat! We look forward to your leadership of Medicine Hat Police Service.

Media Contact:

Rita Sittler
Administrative Services Manager
Medicine Hat Police Service
Ph: 403-529-8416