Red Deer RCMP seeks more officers

Boosting police staffing is part of the city’s efforts to increase safety in the community.

Boosting police staffing is part of the city’s efforts to increase safety in the community.

Hiring four RCMP officers and two municipal support staff is part of the plan, council heard on the second day of operating budget deliberations on Tuesday.

Greg Scott, the Community Services director, told council a key focus in this year’s work plan is safety in the community. The division covering recreation, parks and culture, social planning, police and transit has the second largest budget at $87.3 million within the city’s $284-million draft operating budget.

RCMP Insp. Warren Dosko said the new officers translate to one additional officer on the street per shift.

Dosko is currently working with K-Division and city staff to develop the services standards model that is expected to be before council in March.

“I think that will make these budget conversations a little bit easier,” said Dosko. “We’ll have this document to fall back onto to say these are our standards. These are our ratios.”

In October, the City of Red Deer released crime statistics for the period between 2006 and 2011, as well as staffing levels at the detachment. The numbers showed the number of Criminal Code files per member at Red Deer City RCMP was nearly 150, compared with 99 as the provincial average. As well, the numbers showed how many Criminal Code files each Mountie has per 1,000 residents. The detachment number is 202 per 1,000 residents, compared with the Alberta average of 139 files per 1,000 residents.

In March, the new Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT), focusing on organized crime in the region, is expected to be fully operational.

Scott added in the coming year, the community will be called on to work corroboratively with the city to develop a crime prevention model for community.

“It will not be led necessarily by the city forces but community owned, community empowered,” said Scott. “We will probably look around our community to enhance the whole crime prevention area.”

The city will also release quarterly crime statistics starting this year.