The province fulfilled a three-year plan to fill out the ranks of Alberta’s police forces with another 100 officers allocated this week.
The announcement, made Wednesday, wraps up the three-year commitment and Premier Ed Stelmach said it helps the public and officers already on the job.
“Alberta is a safer place for the addition of 300 new officers and the excellent work they do every day,” he said. “We value they work they do in a job that is difficult, dangerous and unpredictable.”
The 100 officers announced this week will be spread out across the province with Edmonton and Calgary taking the lion’s share, but other city forces and the RCMP will also receive a substantial boost.
Newly appointed Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security Frank Oberle said the new officers should tell organized criminals to move on from Alberta.
“We are sending a clear message to criminals. We are making it harder for criminals to do business in Alberta. There is strength in numbers.”
Rick Hanson, Calgary’s chief of police and head of the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police, thanked the premier for the new officers and for other support including new laws that allow police to seize vehicles connected to the drug trade.
“You are making a difference where it really counts, at a time when it really counts.”
The RCMP will receive 20 new officers, as it has during the last two years of the program. Staff at the forces’ K Division headquarters in Edmonton will now work with municipalities to decide where those officers should go.
St. Albert received one officer from the program in 2008, but did not receive any in last year’s allocation.
The program provided $100,000 in provincial money for the officer, which covers most of the cost of an officer’s training, salary, benefits and equipment.
The funding isn’t a short-term boost and the province will continue to provide it every year.
For budgeting purposes, the city estimates the cost of a new officer at $122,600.
Insp. Warren Dosko with the St. Albert RCMP detachment said the city hasn’t decided if they will apply to K division to have one of the officers posted here, but will be making the decision quickly.