Red Deer County has joined forces with Blackfalds RCMP to create an advisory committee.
“Basically, it’s just a great way to have public input into the policing issues in the county,” said Ric Henderson, county assistant chief administrative officer.
The committee will advise Blackfalds RCMP detachment commander on local policing priorities identified through community input and endorsed by council. Committee members can use the meetings to pass on emerging trends and issues and even make recommendations on community policing initiatives.
Behind-the-scenes organization work has been going on for some time with help from the Alberta Solicitor General’s office.
Blackfalds RCMP Staff Sgt. Ken Morrison said he’s a strong support of community policing.
“I believe we can only do our job with the assistance of the community,” said Morrison. “Only so much comes to us. There are always those things that are happening in the community that everybody thinks police already know.
“We need to be made aware of those things so we can effectively do our job.”
The committee, which will meet six times a year, will also give police input on setting priorities each year.
The committee is expected to be about a dozen strong and will include the RCMP detachment commander, a council member, and representatives from victim services, municipal enforcement services, youth and volunteer centre, Family and Community Support Services, schools, community organizations, business and adult and youth citizens-at-large.
“What we hoped to do is get a wide variety of people and I think Red Deer County has done a good job of that,” he said.
Morrison said a similar advisory committee focuses specifically on the Town of Blackfalds. He plans to repeat the rural model in Lacombe County.
County Coun. Jean Bota supported the initiative, which she sees as “leading the way” for other municipalities.
Coun. Connie Huelsman also strongly supported the committee, noting rising rural crime levels.