Alberta Justice Minister and Solicitor General Doug Schweitzer believes the addition of new RCMP officers in detachments like Valleyview and Beaverlodge will go a long way in alleviating rural crime concerns in the Peace Country.
In 2020 and 2021, 76 new police officers and 57 new civilian support positions will be peppered throughout the province, with one each to take up a position in Valleyview and Beaverlodge.
Schweitzer, who took part in a rural crime open house tour in 2019, says he heard the anger loud and clear from local residents and hopes this first step will make an impact.
“We saw so many people frustrated, and there was a breakdown in confidence in the system as a whole where they felt like they had to take measures into their own hands,” he says. “Not only are we getting more police officers on the ground, but we are also enhancing the power of Sheriffs and Peace Officers.”
The additional officers in Beaverlodge are separate from another two officers which had already been promised to the rural detachment in 2019. At that time, the County of Grande Prairie granted the rural detachment $330,000 to allow for the additional support.
Schweitzer notes the addition 76 new officers provincially is the first of several steps the provincial governments plan to take on the matter, and, in the end, the hope is to get as many as 300 new officers total on the ground across Alberta by 2024.