Committee to create broad-based safety strategy

A “Made in Red Deer” approach to safety in the city took a step forward on Monday.

A “Made in Red Deer” approach to safety in the city took a step forward on Monday.

Seven members from the education, policing, aboriginal and legal communities were named to the new Community Safety Ad Hoc Committee.

The committee will create a broad-based safety strategy, recommend a funding model and a structure for ongoing governance for Red Deer over two years.

Coun. Ken Johnston, who will sit as a council representative, said the issue of community safety is a very high priority for council.

Johnston said the committee will address public safety from a combination of crime prevention, enforcement, corrections, education and other perspectives.

Johnston said safe communities across Canada now require a tremendous amount of collaboration.

“I think we took a tremendous step forward today,” said Johnston. “I think we took a step forward as a city and as a community we have taken an essential step forward in what I think is a major, major issue.”

Johnston said there are some sectors including health and the justice system that he would like to see added to the committee. There is room for up to four additional members.

Some applications came in from those who work with agencies that may deal with safety in the community.

“We made the decision that none of them will be on the governance committee but they will be definite resources to this committee,” said Coun. Lynne Mulder, who was on the nomination committee. “We will ask that they play a meaningful role in this committee.”

Mayor Tara Veer said the committee will look at the safety issues that the community is faced with a multi-sector perspective. Veer said one of the committee’s first initiatives will be to meet with key stakeholders to paint a clear picture of the existing programs in place in the community and identify the gaps.

The members include Bettylyn Baker, Karyn Barber, Serge Gingras, Dawn-Rai Kitt, Walt McKay, Donna Stinson and Tyler Heppell.

“There will come a time when this committee will die a natural death,” said Johnston. “The importance will be to hand off that governance structure to a totally community-based organization and not have the need for council representation or whatever.”

In 2015 the committee will focus on building a strategy to engage the community to contribute to the plan. It will develop the criteria for organizations to apply for funding opportunities to align with the vision and goals.

The committee will meet monthly.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com