Sylvan Lake Town Council has dropped a plan to include municipal enforcement officers when determining how much policing the community needs.
Under the town’s Police Staffing Complement Policy, one police officer per 800 residents is required.
Currently, the ratio is one RCMP officer per 844 residents, based on 14 full-time officers and additional police help in the summer months.
However, if the town’s two full-time municipal enforcement officers, an enforcement manager and seasonal enforcement and bylaw positions were included, the policing ratio drops to one officer per 673 for 2012.
In June, council decided municipal enforcement staff should be included when setting the policing ratio.
The RCMP opposed that policy change, pointing out that enforcement staff don’t handle the range of duties of RCMP officers. Further, the town found no other municipalities include municipal enforcement officers in their policing ratios.
On Tuesday, council voted to stick with the existing ratio for RCMP. A municipal enforcement staffing ratio of one per 3,200 residents has also been included.
Council has decided not to request an additional RCMP officer for next year, but wants to have one in place sometime in 2014 when the population is projected to hit almost 13,200, from its current 12,327.
A proposal to beef up municipal enforcement by adding a part-time officer will be considered in this year’s budget. The 0.5 full-time equivalent position would cost about $50,000. A new vehicle may also be requested at a cost of $55,000.
Council also directed administration to alter the policing policy, which requires the town to meet certain ratios, rather than giving council the leeway to make its own decisions.