The proposed Alberta Provicinal Police force is expected to be one of the hot topics Grande Prairie policy-makers will have their say on as part of the ABmunis Spring Leadership Conference.
Grande Prairie City Councillor and Director of ABmunis Cities Up to 500,000, Dylan Bressey, says while the session is all about education and advocacy, he knows chatter about the proposal to replace the RCMP with a provincial police force will take up a good chunk of the conversation.
“We want to get direction from our membership about what position to municipalities have when it comes to an Alberta Provincial Police [service], is it something they’re excited about, opposed to, is it something they’re cautiously open to,” he adds.
Bressey says reaction to the idea has been divided thus far, with several municipalities or councillors across the province taking opposition to the idea. He says in his opinion, it’s vital that they dig deep into the details to try and figure out what pressing needs does an Alberta Provincial Police force solve.
“There are a number of things we are supportive of, such as more civilian oversight, integrating mental health with policing, those things are great,” he says.
“What we are trying to figure out, though, is why is an Alberta Provincial Police service needed to implement those good things, and why does the province think the RCMP is incapable of doing that.”
The two-day conference kicked off Wednesday in Edmonton with a pair of education sessions, while speeches from Premier Jason Kenney and NDP Leader Rachel Notley will headline the Thursday portion of the event.
Released in October 2021, a report commissioned by PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada studied the operational needs and transition costs of replacing the RCMP in Alberta. The report found that it is, “realistic, cost-effective and worth serious further consideration.”