Policing plan calls for more officers
Council receives long-term departmental plan that asks for increased resources
Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 06:00 am
A plan calling for more police and municipal enforcement officers was presented to council on Monday night.
Encompassing both RCMP and municipal enforcement, the policing long term departmental plan will serve as a guiding document for police resource planning.
The motion passed unanimously by council which received the plan as information, authorized administration to use it as a guide and also triggered a review of council’s policy on policing services that will be presented to council by the end of June 2015.
While the plan was opened up for public comment, not many bothered to participate policing services manager Aaron Giesbrecht said.
“Administration received less than 10 responses from the public,” Giesbrecht told council.
The report calls for changes to the RCMP and municipal enforcement officer to resident ratios.
The recommended RCMP to resident ratio is one officer for every 1,000 residents. It’s currently 1: 1,193.
The recommended municipal enforcement services officer to resident ratio is 1:5,000. The actual level is 1:1,746.
Coun. Wes Brodhead questioned what he saw as contradictory information about crime rates – overall, crime rates are going down but the report speaks of increases in different kinds of crime and the additional work involved.
RCMP Insp. Kevin Murray was on-hand and said the more sophisticated crime takes a lot more time investment by individual officers, as does the administration that comes with investigations like preparing documentation for court.
Requests for increased numbers are the result of “the type of crimes that are occurring and the amount of time that our officers are having to invest,” Murray said.
Eventually the city will have to decide where and how it wants to spend its policing dollars, Murray said.
“St. Albert is a community which enjoys a significant amount of proactive policing services, but it comes at a cost,” he said.
Coun. Sheena Hughes wanted to see evidence presented to show the need for new staff, including more municipal employees to help the RCMP and enforcement services administrate.
While council was happy to receive the plan as information, some council members did note that they weren’t sure they’d be willing to approve business cases for new officers come budget time.
“It is expensive for every additional police officer,” said Coun. Sheena Hughes.