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HomeNewsConcerns remain over proposed Alberta Provincial Police Service: Mayor Potter

Concerns remain over proposed Alberta Provincial Police Service: Mayor Potter

Sexsmith Mayor Kate Potter says while she’s hopeful for more consultation from the provincial government in regards to a proposed Alberta Provincial Police Force, she remains concerned that the issues facing municipalities like Sexsmith won’t be addressed if the RCMP no longer operates in the province.

In a report released Tuesday, the Alberta Government laid out the key changes it feel the switch to a yet to be formed police force would make in rural municipalities who may at this point be underserved. Potter says making promises for a minimum number of officers per detachment is all well and good, but adding context, it could actually take officers away.

“That’s great, when you’re in the middle of nowhere, for us, that would actually be a downsize, and it doesn’t help bring the police any closer to us.
They talk about it not being a one-size fits all, but there are issues with the current system that are not going to be addressed by switching to a provincial police force,” she says.

“There are a number of things that are critically important… and right now it feels very over simplified, and that this is going to solve all of our problems, but I feel like you haven’t taken the contingencies into consideration,” she adds.

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Potter believes the provincial government, at the very least, should be looking to reopen those channels of communication not only with municipal leaders, but residents across Alberta.

“The government is notorious, and I think large organizations can be, where it’s they say they’re doing engagement, but what we are really giving you information and we take the things we want to hear,” she says.

“I’ve asked a number of people in the community, and across Alberta what their thoughts are, and in theory, they are in support of it, but I feel like the consultation has been done with municipal leaders and some specific groups, but has not been done with the general public,” she adds.

Alberta Justice Minister Tyler Shandro says the report reveals that the current deployment model is bureaucratic and heavily centralized.

“By moving to a provincial deployment model, we would be able to add 275 front-line police officers to the smallest 42 detachments. We can also make access to mental health, addictions, family crisis services, and other specialized police services more accessible to all communities across Alberta.”

The Alberta NDP, meanwhile, took a different approach to the report, suggesting the report showed the provincial police plan would cost Alberta an extra $170 million per year along with approximately $366 million in startup costs.

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