Red Deer Coun. Buck Buchanan. (Advocate file photo).

City councillor wants to start a ‘hybrid’ police force of RCMP and municipal officers

Buck Buchanan said the RCMP moves too slowly on new initiatives

Some city councillors and the RCMP superintendent aired differing perspectives on why certain policing initiatives were delayed in Red Deer.

Councillors Buck Buchanan and Tanya Handley suggested the city tried for years to get the RCMP to move on things like allowing private-sector “collision centres” to start operating to deal with accident reports. This would free up police officers to work on more serious cases.

Buchanan, a retired RCMP officer, believes the national police force does not like sharing data.

As a result, he said Red Deer RCMP cannot seem to move the responsibilities for criminal record checks and collision reports to private agencies.

While many cities with municipal forces are already doing this, Red Deer is still waiting, added Buchanan, who noted the RCMP is still piloting the idea for what’s now the second year in Grande Prairie.

But Supt. Gerald Grobmeier, of Red Deer RCMP, said the City of Red Deer had a chance to have this same pilot project unrolled here, but passed, thinking it would be better to let Grande Prairie iron out any potential kinks that could arise.

Summary of policing review

“Some of the delays are caused by city policies, as well,” he said.

Another delayed initiative was the downtown police patrol.

Buchanan said the trouble with continuing to rely on the RCMP for policing is that the national force is slow moving. The councillor added it took four years to finally get the local detachment to create a designated downtown police patrol.

But Grobmeier later countered this by saying it came down to getting adequate funding from the city for an additional patrol. Without having appropriate resources for this initiative “we would have had to close down another section.”

City council did not make a decision on Tuesday about whether to stick with the RCMP or start up a municipal police force.

Discussion on it was pushed ahead to the first quarter of 2020 to allow for public input to be received by phone or email and for more information from administration.

Grobmeier sees it as an opportunity to look at doing things differently — “at how to be more responsive at service delivery.”

Buchanan sees it as a chance to form a hybrid police force for Red Deer that introduces municipal police officers.

Of the city‘s 171 current police officers, Buchanan envisions 125 becoming part of a municipal force working under a Police Commission and a direction set by the City of Red Deer. They would deal with day-to-day call-in crime complaints.

The other 46 officers would continue working as RCMP officers on projects such as Pinpoint, which focuses on locating prolific criminals and investigating whether they are linked to crime hot spots in the city.

Buchanan believes officers in the two forces could regularly collaborate on cases, as needed.

Although a hybrid model was not considered by the policing review done over the past year (protective services director Paul Goranson explained there‘s already collaboration between the RCMP and various municipal police forces), Buchanan feels this is still something council can consider.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Red Deer City Council

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central zone down to 16 active COVID-19 cases

Alberta Health Services’ central zone is down to 16

Red Deer drum circle aims to ‘bring different cultures together’

Central Alberta Refugee Effort, Urban Aboriginal Voices Society hosted the event Friday

Students reassured pandemic’s academic impact will be taken into account

Some Grade 12 students concerned how pandemic will affect their post-secondary plans

Liberals vow wage-subsidy extension to 2021, revamp of EI system in throne speech

Canadian labour market was hammered by pandemic, when lockdowns in the spring led to a loss of 3 million jobs

Shattenkirk scores in overtime, Tampa Bay beats Dallas 5-4 in Stanley Cup final

Shattenkirk scores in overtime, Tampa Bay beats Dallas 5-4 in Stanley Cup final

Toronto FC starts strange new chapter in East Hartford with game against Columbus

Toronto FC starts strange new chapter in East Hartford with game against Columbus

Toronto Wolfpack fate deferred for four weeks as Super League continues review

Toronto Wolfpack fate deferred for four weeks as Super League continues review

Newly installed in the top 10, Shapovalov leads Canadian hopes at French Open

Newly installed in the top 10, Shapovalov leads Canadian hopes at French Open

Montreal Impact eager to return to winning ways against N.Y. Red Bulls

Montreal Impact eager to return to winning ways against N.Y. Red Bulls

Hornet sting, birdies take Swafford to lead at Punta Cana

Hornet sting, birdies take Swafford to lead at Punta Cana

Champion Adesanya gets redemption chance vs Costa at UFC 253

Champion Adesanya gets redemption chance vs Costa at UFC 253

Canadiens sign defenceman Jeff Petry to four-year contract extension

Canadiens sign defenceman Jeff Petry to four-year contract extension

Most Read