Starting a municipal police force would cost taxpayers more, but give City of Red Deer more control

Results of a policing review were presented to city council on Tuesday

Replacing the RCMP with a municipal police force would cost Red Deer taxpayers up to $13.5 million and take two to four years, according to a policing review presented Tuesday.

This hefty cost is attributed to having to buy a fleet of municipal police vehicles and equipment, setting up a municipal dispatch system, and losing out on some economies of scale in current RCMP purchasing.

A comparison of different policing models was prepared by KPMG consulting and presented at a special city council meeting.

The $200,000 review found that annual police operating costs would also be higher if council chose to replace the RCMP with a municipal police force.

The projected estimate was $50 million in 2023, compared to $43.7 million for the RCMP. One reason would be the loss of a 10 per cent subsidy, said consultant Tim Swanson.

There were advantages found for making the change, which would necessitate the city creating a new arms’-length policing commission: The city would have full ability to determine how police services are deployed, and could set and manage service levels and accountability standards better than with the RCMP, which also answers to K-Division in Edmonton.

Councillor wants to start a ‘hybrid’ police force

However, council was told the RCMP now has timely access to specialized units, training and other resources at no incremental cost, and there’s a seamless sharing of services and assets as part of a national police force.

When it comes to the city’s existing police service, the review found RCMP costs were in line with average policing costs for 11 comparison municipalities — even though this city has the highest crime index.

City council heard that Red Deer‘s 2018 per capita police cost of $380 was well below that of Grande Prairie, Calgary and Edmonton, which respectively pay $429, $411 and $489 per capita for their municipal forces.

Lethbridge’s municipal force costs slightly less at $374 per capita. The average was $389.

Red Deer‘s RCMP detachment has higher caseloads per employee and the lowest ratio of civilian staffers among the 11 cities studied, which also includes Medicine Hat, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Strathcona County, Halifax and the B.C. cities of Surrey, Richmond and Langley.

However, while there was a positive police “clearance rate“ on violent crimes, there was less resolution on petty crimes due to drug use and social disorder.

Council was told the city is heading in the right direction by trying to focus on reducing the root causes of these offences, which can’t just be solved solely by enforcement.

Consultant Sean Sparling praised the Red Deer RCMP’s high public satisfaction rating and success with its Pinpoint program, which tracks the movements of known prolific criminals to explore potential links with new crime hot spots.

But he found some areas in need of improvement. For instance, he said other jurisdictions are already using privatized companies to deal with collision reporting and criminal record checks to free up more police officers to focus on more serious cases.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Red Deer City Council

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer up to four active COVID-19 cases

Province announced 77 new confirmed cases across Alberta Friday

Red Deer woman loses student visa, ‘has no choice but to leave’ Canada

Victoria Forschle and her family came to Canada in 2008

Agriculture trade show is a must, says Red Deer chamber

Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce promotes trade show

$21M of improvements to be made to Olds College

More than $21 million in improvements will be made to Olds College,… Continue reading

Canadian economy adds 953,000 jobs in June, unemployment rate falls

OTTAWA — Nearly one million more Canadians had jobs in June than… Continue reading

Survey suggests 40 per cent of Alberta doctors have considered leaving province

CALGARY — A survey by the Alberta Medical Association suggests more than… Continue reading

NHL, NHLPA ratify RTP, CBA extension; Toronto, Edmonton unveiled as hub cities

TORONTO — The NHL remains on course to resume its pandemic-delayed season… Continue reading

Fast-moving Tropical Storm Fay makes landfall in New Jersey

NEW YORK — Fast-moving Tropical Storm Fay made landfall in New Jersey… Continue reading

‘Are you wearing protection?’: Daters struggle with COVID-19 compatibility

WASHINGTON — A federal judge in Baltimore on Friday struck down a… Continue reading

Red Deer sports groups sticking to racially sensitive names for now

Professional sports teams Edmonton Eskimos and Washington Redskins are reviewing their team names

Genetic non-discrimination law is constitutional, Supreme Court says

OTTAWA — In a split decision, the Supreme Court of Canada has… Continue reading

Most Read