Red Deer city council to look at consolidation of RCMP and EMS dispatch

Not recommended by city administration

Red Deer city council will get an update on whether to consolidate RCMP, ambulance and fire department dispatch at Tuesday’s regular council meeting.

The update follows a resolution passed by council in January 2016 during the operating budget debate that directed administration to explore the consolidation.

A report coming to council on Tuesday recommends that council not pursue consolidation at this time, and that administration continue implementing initiatives already approved by council.

City administration says systems and structures currently do not exist to consolidate RCMP with EMS, but significant progress has already been made to address non-emergency calls.

In 2015, the city implemented a non-emergency call taking program that diverted 49 per cent of calls to RCMP to the appropriate places for response between operating hours. That alleviated a major burden on the Southern Operational Communications Centre for RCMP and provided increased customer service for non-emergency callers.

Council went on to approve the funds required to increase the non-emergency call taking program in 2016 by extending the hours of operation.

In Alberta there are two Operational Communications Centres for RCMP, one in Red Deer and one in Edmonton. The City of Red Deer has its own dispatch service for fire and ambulance.

Coun. Buck Buchanan originally put forward the motion last year to look into consolidating dispatch.

He said consolidation could mean cost savings for the city, especially with the recent creation of the city’s new protective services division.

Approved last month, the new division brings together police, fire, ambulance, security, emergency management and crime prevention into one organization. It’s expected to boost efficiency and give council a bigger say in setting local priorities.

Buchanan said the city may not provide a direct financial contribution for RCMP dispatch through the Operational Communications Centre, but policing is a publicly funded service.

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