(Red Deer Advocate file photo)

More RCMP resources recommended for Red Deer’s downtown and other priorities

City council to consider where to designate three additional officers

Red Deer city council will discuss on Monday how to allocate the $730,000 that’s been approved to hire three more RCMP officers.

Administration is recommending that one officer be allocated to the community policing unit and another to the downtown unit.

A third dedicated police officer would work for the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre to deal with abused child and bring their abusers to justice — as was already directed by council when this funding was approved in January.

Money for the additional police hires was granted as part of the city’s 2019 operating budget, based on the cost of adding three more police officers and two municipal support workers to the city’s payroll.

Ongoing funding of $40,000 for 2019 and $690,000 for 2020 was approved to strengthen the city’s crime-fighting resources, based on policing priorities set in 2018.

Cracking down on drug and property crime was found to be the No. 1 priority, based on results of a public survey. No. 2 was to reduce downtown crime, and No. 3 was to improve the police’s level of service and responsiveness.

Paul Goranson, director of protective services, sent a report to council indicating these recommended allocations would focus more resources on areas that are of greatest importance to the public.

By adding another RCMP member to Red Deer’s downtown policing unit, it would boost the capacity to support the city’s core, he wrote in a report to council.

Having five officers patrolling core streets instead of the current four would mean more relationship building could happen with local businesses, and more eyes would be in the neighbourhood watching for crime and known repeat offenders, said Goranson.

He added it would also enhance visible police presence and responsiveness in the downtown.

Adding an extra officer in the community policing unit would mean more work can be done with youth as part of crime prevention, as well as more support for the Community Safety Strategy, he said.

Money for these three additional officers was weighted towards 2020 because the RCMP has up to 12 months to fill positions after receiving a written request from the city.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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