Another lengthy and costly policing review has been avoided.
By a vote of 8-1, city council defeated Coun. Paul Harris’ motion to undertake a review of the RCMP.
Just over a year ago, council voted to keep the RCMP as opposed to switching to a municipal police force or a hybrid model.
Harris wanted to ensure the policing model was as cost-effective and efficient as when council made the decision in October 2011.
Harris said the RCMP will be asking for more officers in the upcoming operating budget deliberations, and he does not feel comfortable granting the requests without a clear idea of where the money will be used.
“Sometimes things are a little political,” said Harris, after the decision. “And we do things for more than one reason. That motion also gave council the opportunity to express some of its frustrations that needed to be aired. I am not one of those people who let an elephant stay in the room that long to get the message out the RCMP to get on to those service levels and we need them soon to let our public know what to expect.”
City administration is currently working with the RCMP to develop its service delivery standards. The report is expected to be before council in March.
Coun. Cindy Jefferies said it wasn’t too long ago they went through a lengthy review and it is too soon to make any sort of changes. She would rather see the energy and time put into establishing the service level standards.
“I’m assuming in the management of that contract we are testing some of those assumptions and we are still monitoring that it is still good value,” said Jefferies. “It’s too soon. And it’s important to send a message to our RCMP that we want them to be our service provider. We made that decision a year ago. We are confident in the service they can provide. We are going to work with them to match our community needs. Working together to meet those community needs should be priority one.”
Coun. Lynne Mulder echoed her thoughts, saying council made a $150,000 decision that they need to live with and the community would not support another review.
Red Deer City RCMP Supt. Warren Dosko said the concerns were valid and hopefully council’s angst will help move the process ahead quickly.
“We will be certainly be working with city administration to fine tune the research we are doing to bring forward some options,” said Dosko.
“They are very valid concerns. It’s part of the process we are working through to establish what those service levels look like. That’s a critical piece in determining what the police force looks like in the future. It needs to start with making sure the expectations are laid out and the resources are there to commit to what the expectations are.”