Council candidate Ted Johnson says it’s time Red Deer had its own municipal police force to tackle crime.
“Red Deer leads in property crime year after year after year among the five largest centres in Alberta. The one variable that Red Deer does not have is it does not have its own municipal force,” said the former organic farmer and business owner.
He said everyone in Red Deer knows someone who has been impacted by crime, or has personally been affected, including Johnson who was a victim of an assault in the downtown.
Council looked at a hybrid policing model earlier this year, but it didn’t get off the ground, he said.
“I think the stage of talking is long past. Time to make a decision and do something that will make a change.”
Johnson, currently a school bus driver with Red Deer Catholic Regionals Schools, said the city’s transit system also needs work. He proposed a ring route that would circle the city and involve two buses running in opposite directions.
“Right now a passenger is forced to travel to the downtown Sorensen Station in order to navigate from one end of the city to another adding time and frustration to their commute.”
He said it takes almost an hour to get from 77th to 19th Street and if there was quicker way of getting where they want to go more people would use transit.
As well, Johnson wants more information added to property tax bills like taxes charged in the last four years to make it easier to compare year-to-year, as well as previous property assessments. The current debt load of the city should also be part of tax bills to show Red Deer’s fiscal status.
“If you ask the average person what the city owes they would have no idea.”
Those tax bill changes would not cost a thing because the information is a matter of record, he said.
Johnson has lived in Red Deer for over 20 years, is married to Jeanette, and they have four adult children.