Provinces will fund 40 police officers
Provincial Budget 2014: Local detachments will ask for more officers
Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014 11:33 am
The province will spend $5.9 million to fund an additional 40 officers across Alberta and the heads two local RCMP detachment say they are hoping to receive additional officers.
It was a huge jump over last year’s announcement of 10 officers.
Alberta solicitor general spokesperson Josh Stewart said the ministry was aware more front-line officers are needed.
“This is based on need,” Stewart said. “We are always in contact with the RCMP to see what their needs are.”
The Province and federal government share the cost of detachments located in municipalities or in towns with a population under 5,000 people. The province pays for 70 per cent of the cost of officers and the federal government pays the rest.
The Turner Valley detachment is fully funded through the province and federal government. There are 11 officers assigned to the detachment,
Sgt. Paulina Larrey-King of the Turner Valley detachment said they will ask for more officers.
“In the past there have been requests upwards of two officers, but I don’t think that is realistic,” she said.
Larrey-King said she will request an additional constable to add to the six existing officers. The detachment also is staffed with two corporals and two officers who are assigned to the Eden Valley reserve. However, two positions are currently vacant and are waiting to be filled.
Larrey-King said the officers in Turner Valley deal with a higher-than-average number of criminal code cases.
“In 2012 our criminal code cases per member were 150 and the division average was 99,” she said.
The biggest challenge though is the large detachment area, Larrey-King said.
“Turner Valley (detachment) polices an area the size of Prince Edward Island,” she said.
There are also areas in the detachment without cell or radio service. Officers responding to these areas must have backup.
“I have to call people in many times,” she said.
In Okotoks there are six officers that police the rural area and are funded by the provincial/federal funding program. The detachment has an additional 19 officers that are municipally funded and focus on calls within the town’s limits.
Staff Sgt. Jim Ross said he will also request an additional officer for their rural detachment when K-division puts a call out for requests.
“There is a lot of development happening,” he said of the areas surrounding Okotoks. “What we see is continued growth and we need to create a plan for emergency services and policing.”
He said another challenge of policing Okotoks is the number of traffic-related enforcement and service calls they receive.
“We have a major highway that runs through our detachment,” Ross said.
He is not sure where Okotoks rural detachment ranks on the province’s list, and said there are other detachments with growth pressure as well, but said he will request another officer whenever it is needed and there is an opportunity.
“I will always be an advocate for more resources,” he said.
Officials at RCMP K-division headquarters in Edmonton have not yet decided where the additional officers will be posted.