Red Deer city councillor Buck Buchanan. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

What was said about RCMP versus muncipal policing in Red Deer council chambers:

Some notable quotes from Tuesday’s policing discussions by Red Deer city council:

Mayor Tara Veer: “Have the RCMP done what we’ve asked them to do? Yes… One of our critical priorities is organized crime and the drug trade. We now have a downtown foot patrol and (the RCMP) have shifted from being reactive to being more proactive…We all get frustrated about imperfections in the system but we would have (crime) issues even if we had a municipal service.”

Coun. Tanya Handley: (who introduced an unsuccessful motion to transition to a municipal police force) This is no reflection on our local members, but on the system. (A municipal force) can be more nimble, flexible and responsive to the changes that we see locally… the organization can be structured to maximize front-line officers… ”

Coun. Ken Johnston: “Would (switching to a municipal force) change our position between two major cities? Would it change our drug and alcohol and gambling problems? Would it change our domestic violence rates, child sex abuse cases? …The answer is no. (The justice system) is where our real frustration lies. The police are being neutralized by a fractured judiciary.”

Coun. Dianne Wyntjes: “The national police force is slow moving, but now we have an opportunity to look at doing things differently, look at our service levels, explore starting a local policing committee…”

Coun. Michael Dawe: “We have effective, honest, unbiased policing now. We need to put our resources into improving what we have. There will be challenges either way, (making a change) will not cause our crime ratio to drop….”

Coun. Frank Wong: “We could spend a lot more money (on municipal police) and not see many more benefits…. All things being equal, the RCMP will give us the same level of service… at 10 per cent discount (because of a federal grant).”

Coun. Vesna Higham: “Of the top 60 Canadian cities by population, only six are policed by the RCMP — including Red Deer — and Surrey (B.C.) is in the process of transitioning (to a municipal police force). We are not a small town looking for the least expensive model. We should not be taking the path of least resistance (in sticking with the status quo).”

Coun. Lawrence Lee: If we said our No. 1 priority was collision centres, or more technology to deal with crime, I believe we would have those… I think (people) want to find somebody to blame (for high crime). I am not ready to blame the RCMP.”

Coun. Buck Buchanan: When we ask (the RCMP) when can we have collision centres, we hear ‘When K Division allows it,’ or ‘It’s an insurance thing…’ It took years for us to get a downtown beat patrol… I’m not saying they are doing a bad job, but is it the best service? I don’t know. (Municipal police) responsiveness is much faster.”

Red Deer city RCMP Supt. Gerald Grobmeier: (who was pleased with the outcome of the vote and believes his officers will be too) “No one (in K Division or Ottawa) interferes with operational matters in Red Deer… I have no problem seeking improvements. I am never satisfied with the status quo. I am always looking for new innovations and better solutions…”

Red Deer City Council

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