Red Deer keeping RCMP service, won’t go with municipal force

RED DEER – The City of Red Deer voted 6-3 in favour of keeping the RCMP and not going with a municipal police force.

Council made the decision after getting a report from their 14-month review of the city’s law enforcement model that concluded transitioning to a municipal police force would cost about $12 million and take at least four years. 

“Public safety and reducing crime is council’s number one priority and we will continue to partner with the Red Deer RCMP to prioritize the serious crime issues our community is facing,” said Mayor Tara Veer in a statement Jan. 21.

“Council identified a number of areas we expect to see service improvements in the coming year in response to safety concerns identified by our citizens, and we also elevated our need for systemic issues in the criminal justice system to be resolved to significantly reduce the number of repeat offenders committing crimes in our city.”

City Manager Allan Seabrooke said the city will continue to prioritize community safety throughout its operations.

“We know community safety is a shared responsibility and we are united with the Red Deer RCMP in serving citizens and addressing the systemic judicial issues impacting crime levels in our community.”

The report also revealed that the city’s annual cost for RCMP went from $19.6 million in 2017 to $24.7 million in 2019. There are 171 officers at the Red Deer detachment. 

While city council, at their special council meeting Jan. 21, voted in support of RCMP governance model, they also voted to continue to partner with the RCMP to affect change in several areas. They include advocacy for improvements to the justice system, enhanced authorities for community peace officers, a local collision centre, and a forum for community feedback on community policing needs.

The review into the city’s police services consists of two parts, a Governance Review that identifies the opportunities and challenges with various policing operating models, as well as a Service Review with recommendations on enhancing services with the existing RCMP contract.