Grande Prairie local police effort gets $9.7M promise from Alberta

Alberta’s UCP government on Wednesday pledged to help the city of Grand Prairie with a bill to replace the RCMP with its own police service, but Alberta continues to consider the possibility of doing the same.

Public Safety and Emergency Services Minister Mike Ellis “launches the Alberta Police Service (APS)” despite being instructed in a November mandate from Prime Minister Daniel Smith to assist Justice Minister Tyler Shandro. He claimed that no final decision had been made.

Alberta’s Mounties police contract expires in 2032, and the UCP government has been considering a state police force for years.

“One of the scenarios is that the RCMP may not want to continue policing in Alberta. said Ellis at the announcement Wednesday at Grand Prairie.

“So make sure you are considering all options. Whether it is a municipal, regional or Alberta police service model, these things need to be considered.”

A committee of the Grand Prairie City Council met Tuesday evening to discuss the city’s police services, with further talks on March 6.

Ellis denied that his UCP interfered in local government decisions, making announcements and throwing money ahead of the final vote in Congress.

“I think they were doing a poll. Was it a poll? It’s a city initiative and the people of Grand Prairie are very supportive of the initiative and like other jurisdictions, we We are listening to you and are happy to support whatever your needs are,” said Ellis.

“Today is a perfect demonstration that the Alberta government is behind this decision. Yes,” added Mayor Jackie Clayton.

A council presentation prepared by consulting group MNP puts the five-year cost to phase in police services at Grande Prairie at $169 million, about $19 million more than staying with the RCMP.

Both Alberta Municipalities and Alberta Municipalities voted against the creation of the Alberta Police Service. Government reports say the police service will cost him $366 million to start and $235 million more a year to operate than the RCMP.

Ellis said some local leaders spoke to him in support of APS. Others want their own local police, and some want to stick with the Mounties, he said.

“We have to be able to empower local governments to make the best decisions for their needs,” Ellis said.

“Frankly, if there are municipalities that are deeply involved in the RCMP, it will be even more powerful.

“Biggest Community Engagement Ever”

By next year, 45 police and 29 security officers will be deployed as part of the new service, with the number of police increasing to 100 “full capacity” by 2027, according to the Grand Prairie MNP report. There is likely to be.

The number of sworn RCMP officers could go from 104 currently to zero by 2027.

A survey of Grand Prairie residents found people want more police officers, a focus on property crime and organized drug crime, and a focus on tackling the root causes of crime I understand.

It also said, “The current police force is seen as a completely positive thing,” and did not conduct a specific inquiry into whether residents wanted to replace the RCMP.

“It was the largest community engagement in the city’s history, with hundreds of residents participating,” said Coun. Dylan Blessey said.

“Whether we advance local government services or continue the RCMP, we always have the ability to enhance the policing we currently provide to our residents.”

A spokesperson for the National Police Federation, which represents RCMP officers, said they were still considering an announcement.

Alberta’s NDP said it respected the Grand Prairie Council’s decision on what to do with local police, but said it would scrap any plans for the Alberta National Guard if elected in May.

“Instead of keeping Alberta safe, Daniel Smith is focused on imposing hundreds of millions of dollars in new costs on Alberta families to pay for the UCP Police Department, which no one wants. increase.

A political scientist said polls show that UCP members do, although Alberta as a whole does not support the provincial police force.

“This is not about rural crime. This is not about rapid response rates. This is about establishing autonomy from Ottawa,” said Duane Blatt of Mount Royal University. says.

“So if we can get rid of the RCMP bit by bit, even if it’s not the state police, this is something the state government supports.”

Blatt said one way the UCP government could convince local governments to support the replacement of RCMP officers would be to cover the cost gap and would be interested to see if further funding announcements were made. I was.

Ellis said he is open to providing “additional support” to other municipalities to ensure that response times are adequate and that officers have backup when needed.

Federal notice may be provided by March 31 if Grand Prairie proceeds with new police services.

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