Police plan calls for more officers

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Draft available for public viewing and comment

A draft plan that calls for an increase in the ratio of RCMP and municipal enforcement services officers to residents will be posted online for public input for 60 days.

On Monday night St. Albert city council received a presentation on the draft policing services long-term department plan. The final report, which will include feedback from the comment period, will come back to council by June 23.

“This is a document that’s looking forward 10 years,” said Insp. Kevin Murray, St. Albert’s RCMP detachment commander.

Currently, the ratio of RCMP officers to residents as of 2013 is one officer for every 1,193 residents.

The ratio of municipal enforcement services officers to residents is one for every 7,746 residents.

The draft plan calls for recommended ratios of one RCMP officer for every 1,000 residents and one municipal enforcement officer for every 5,000 residents.

Those changes would allow for increased proactive activities rather than reactive policing, Murray said. Reactive policing currently takes a large portion of the St. Albert RCMP’s time, he said.

However, Murray pointed out the numbers in the plan don’t mean council would be stuck with them.

“Each year when we come to council with this budget we will put together a business case,” Murray said. “It’s simply a guiding document. It’s not something we can hold council to.”

Aaron Giesbrecht, the city’s manager of policing services, said the plan is a broad strategy and would guide administration on annual planning and business case requests.

In late 2010 the city and RCMP decided to redo the long-term policing plan and there were numerous delays, in part due to staff turnover. The scope has been scaled back and the draft result was in front of council.

Like Murray, Giesbrecht said the plan is meant to guide but not direct council decisions.

“Only resources deemed necessary will be requested,” Giesbrecht said.

The draft plan covers the RCMP, municipal enforcement, 911 dispatch and administrative support services.

Council voted unanimously to accept the draft report for information and for it to be posted on the city’s website for a 60-day comment period.

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