Provincial policing get mixed reaction

Having specialized police units co-ordinated at a provincial level is receiving mixed reaction from the City of Red Deer.

Having specialized police units co-ordinated at a provincial level is receiving mixed reaction from the City of Red Deer.

The Solicitor General and Public Security ministry is seeking input on whether integrated police units, such as homicide investigations and undercover operations, should be co-ordinated provincially.

The city has officially responded by saying that specialized units, funded by the province, can be of support to local policing.

“Provincial co-ordination can be an issue, however, if there is not sufficient liaison to local policing,” says a report supported by city council on Monday.

The province is looking at whether improvements need to be made to service delivery, governance and funding of policing. It has put out a draft Law Enforcement Framework Discussion Paper and Guide which suggests various services could be co-ordinated and delivered through the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) structure.

In 2006, the province created ALERT so that there could be better co-operation among joint force teams combating organized and serious crime activity in Alberta. It consists of police officers and civilian staff from various police services, including the RCMP, and brings them under one umbrella. Among those is the Integrated Child Exploitation Unit.

“The formation of ALERT was a positive step in the right direction but the potential benefit of true police integration remains restricted by the respective policies and practices of each participating agency,” says the discussion paper.

The paper says that having co-ordinated and integrated specialized units would allow for more efficient response to criminal activities.

The discussion paper is also asking whether every community over 5,000 people should have a civilian oversight body or committee in place — a point the city “strongly disagrees” with.

“We want to have the flexibility to have the type of police committee and the type of police governance that will suit us,” said Mayor Morris Flewwelling.

And the cost of policing should be shared more equitably, Flewwelling added.

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