The Red Deer Downtown Business Association (DBA) is optimistic crime could drop if eight new police officers join the RCMP detachment.
City administration released the “good news” to council on the first day of operating budget talks Tuesday. The city had initially planned to add four new officers in the budget, but the projected growth revenue came in higher than expected, which allowed the doubling of the ask.
This news came the same day the DBA held a meeting with businesses and RCMP about downtown crime.
“Eight new officers would be fabulous,” said Amanda Gould, DBA executive director. “If that’s a possibility and we had a dedicated number of officers downtown all the time, I think that would have a great impact.”
Having extra officers downtown wouldn’t prevent every crime from happening, Gould added.
“Businesses need to do their due diligence as well in making sure their business is secure – the same goes for the DBA and the city. We all need to work together,” said Gould.
TerryLee Ropchan, Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre (CACPC) executive director, said any addition to the RCMP is a good thing.
“We’re always excited to hear when there’s more officers because people want that,” said Ropchan. “We always hear about how many files they deal with … so we’re hopeful eight new officers can work with some of the growing issues we see.”
Ropchan said it isn’t just up to new officers to make a difference in the community.
“We want to make sure we’re engaging, educating and empowering people to own their neighbourhoods.
“I wouldn’t say safety in whole is driven by having more officers, it’s also about the residents and community to play a role as well,” said Ropchan.
As well as discussing the eight proposed additional officers, council will talk about adding three civilian staff to the Red Deer RCMP detachment – one more than previously proposed.
These additions would bring the total number of officers to 168.