Addition of six police officers in operating budget a ‘good start’: Tod

Six new police recruits are heading to Red Deer.

Six new police recruits are heading to Red Deer.

City council unanimously voted to bring six new RCMP officers and three support staff on board during Monday’s operating debate.

RCMP Supt. Scott Tod said the funding approval shows the city’s commitment to public safety and the importance of policing in the community and keeping the detachment strong.

“I think it is a good start,” said Tod, who was in council chambers to answer questions from council. “Given the realities of the cost of policing. It’s a very expensive business. I am very mindful of the pressure it puts on any municipality. I think it is a good start.”

Currently there are 147 police officers working in Red Deer.

Council heard that Red Deer RCMP officers handle 130 criminal code cases per officer compared to the provincial average of 90 cases per officer.

Tod told council that there is obviously a need for officers but there is also the reality of staffing the positions which is a challenge that most police departments are facing.

But the boost in policing wasn’t the only good news on the crime-fighting front. Tod announced a new joint police task force in Central Alberta.

Tod did not give away too many details about the new team made up of officers from communities such as Blackfalds, Innisfail and Sylvan Lake.

“We will be quite strategic,” said Tod. “I don’t want to say too much other than the main focus will be property crime.”

Tod said ALERT, housed out of Red Deer’s downtown detachment, will no doubt have a role to play with the new team.

“Property crime is driving our crime index,” said Tod. “That’s one of the biggest contribution. Not to take too much credit but it was a pretty easy observation.”

He said Red Deer has targeted prolific offenders which ends up pushing them out to neighbouring communities.

“The problem is they move to those neighbouring communities to get away from our police presence,” said Tod. “But they come back to Red Deer to do business … We need to look at a regional enforcement perspective because we are all dealing with the same people and chasing the same bad guys.”

Tod said they will be targeting these crooks and “putting them out of business.”

The policing budget is roughly $32.1 million out of the city’s proposed $329-million budget. The city will spend $559,650 bill to cover six new police officers and three municipal support staff.

The city is also on the hook for $132,150 to cover the provincial shortfall in grant funding. The province funds three police officers on an annual basis but it has not kept pace with increased policing costs.

Coun. Ken Johnston said the city is paying for police services and strategies that not only benefit Central Alberta region but the two major cities in the province.

Johnston said he is very encouraged about the task force and the regional perspective.

“But the reality comes back to municipal budgets cannot to be sustained at this level and at this need for policing without provincial support,” said Johnston.

Red Deer’s operating budget deliberations continue today. The proposed budget calls for a 4.31 per cent property tax hike on the municipal side.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

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

Just Posted

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

Alberta reported an additional 1,980 cases of COVID-19 Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer adds 37th death from COVID-19, active cases drop

Alberta Health identified an additional 1,980 cases of the virus province-wide

Kris Sturgess with Calgary Ghostbusters. (Photo from GoFundMe)
GoFundMe account salutes Red Deer prop builder

Kris Sturgess died unexpectedly April 28

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas talks with his players during a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match against Mexico's Cruz Azul at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Fernando Llano
Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Gymnastics Canada skipping Olympic qualifier because of COVID-19 concerns

Gymnastics Canada skipping Olympic qualifier because of COVID-19 concerns

Runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu speaks to the media at the opening news conference at the Canadian Track and Field Championships, in Montreal, Thursday, July 25, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
After pregnancy, injuries and a pandemic, Bishop-Nriagu finally hitting her stride

After pregnancy, injuries and a pandemic, Bishop-Nriagu finally hitting her stride

Lille's Burak Yilmaz, center, reacts with teammates after scoring during their French League One soccer match between Lille and Nice in Villeneuve d'Ascq, northern France, Saturday May 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
Canada’s Jonathan David scores milestone goal as Lille moves 4 points ahead of PSG

Canada’s Jonathan David scores milestone goal as Lille moves 4 points ahead of PSG

Jean Carlo Salas of Costa Rica vies for the ball with Canada's Ian Bennett (right) during a CONCACAF Futsal Championship in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Wednesday, May 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CONCACAF-Norvin Mendoza MANDATORY CREDIT
Canada denied a trip to the FIFA Futsal World Cup in penalty shootout loss to Panama

Canada denied a trip to the FIFA Futsal World Cup in penalty shootout loss to Panama

Canadian Stephen Ames one shot back of leaders at Regions Tradition

Canadian Stephen Ames one shot back of leaders at Regions Tradition

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson leaves the ice after defeating China at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Friday, May 7, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Einarson beats China 6-4, qualifies for playoffs at world curling playdowns

Canada’s Einarson beats China 6-4, qualifies for playoffs at world curling playdowns

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks to a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday May 4, 2021. A broad coalition of MPs from all five parties wants the federal government to support waiving the global rules that guard vaccine trade secrets. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
As MPs urge support, Trudeau demurs on whether government backs COVID-19 waiver

As MPs urge support, Trudeau demurs on whether government backs COVID-19 waiver

Most Read