Alberta Municipalities have come out against the possible creation of a provincial police service. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Alberta Municipalities have come out against the possible creation of a provincial police service. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer, and most municipalities, oppose provincial police force

Policy recommendation put to Alberta Municipalities members

Red Deer sided with the majority of municipalities on Wednesday in rejecting a provincial police force.

Alberta Municipalities representatives at the spring municipal leaders’ caucus in Edmonton voted 144 in favour, and 34 against, a policy opposing the provincial police models laid out in a PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) feasibility report commissioned by the province.

Municipalities instead urged the province to invest in resources to address the root causes of crime (health, mental health, social and economic supports), and ensure the justice system is adequately resourced to enable timely access to justice for all Albertans.

Municipalities also want Albertans to have a say “in the form of a clear referendum” before the province issues a formal notice to terminate Alberta’s contract with the RCMP.

Related:

Cost of replacing Alberta RCMP would be huge: National Police Federation

Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston said he was not surprised that an overwhelming number of delegates opposed the proposed policing models.

He said policing is a fundamental service and the study didn’t answer questions related to costs, staffing, shared jurisdiction, communications management, and more.

“I’m not clear on what problem is trying to be solved here with an Alberta police force,” Johnston said.

How municipalities would be better served by a provincial police force has not been answered, he said.

Related:

A provincial police force could cost taxpayers significantly more: Red Deer city officials

Kevin Halwa, with the National Police Federation, said support for the RCMP averages out to about 80 per cent across Alberta and people don’t know why the province is pushing for a provincial police force.

“There is unbelievable support for the RCMP in the province of Alberta,” said Halwa, director for the Prairies and North Region with the federation that represents 20,000 RCMP officers across Canada.

“There is very little appetite among the taxpayers of Alberta to pursue this avenue of a provincial police service and they’re left wondering why the government continues to want to go down this road.”

He said the policing models in the PwC feasibility report just duplicates what is already in place.

The federation’s Keep Alberta RCMP campaign has been hosting community engagement meetings around the province since January. A report on the meetings will be available to the public at keepalbertarcmp.ca.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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