MORE POLICE - Ken Foster of the Red Deer RCMP expresses his excitement in council’s decision to add 10 additional officers. Carlie Connolly/Red Deer Express

Council approves 10 new police officers for the City

New officers will cost City $1.53 million over two years

Ten new officers were approved in day three of operating budget deliberations at City Hall.

Originally, council debated on adding eight new police officers and three municipal employees, but Councillor Vesna Higham brought forth the motion for more officers and no municipal employees.

“There was a very clear message from the public that crime is the number one issue in the community that we as council have been entrusted to deal with. We need to move the needle in a positive way on crime in our community,” she said.

This will move the cost to the City to $1.53 million over two years, as opposed to the $1.5 million proposed for the original eight officers and three municipal employees.

Coun. Tanya Handley was also onboard with the idea.

“For me personally I have just heard loud and clear from the community that our crime rate has gone way up and we need to get a handle on the enforcement front, so I fully support it increasing from eight officers to ten to try and get a handle on crime in our community,” said Handley.

She added that she also believes it’s only one piece of the puzzle, and that they need to do some more work.

Not in support of the amended motion was Coun. Dianne Wyntjes, who said although she is supportive of additional policing, she was satisfied with the initial recommendation of the eight officers and three support staff.

“I look at a full spectrum when we look to policing, it’s not just the boots on the ground, but it’s also the people who are working behind the scenes,” said Wyntjes.

RCMP Supt. Ken Foster was also in attendance, and expressed excitement in the outcome.

“I think it’s outstanding. It’s the direction that the City needs to go for sure. I think it shows the citizens that the council are in lockstep with the police and that public safety and addressing the crime issues in this community are priority one,” he said.

He added that despite the efforts the RCMP have been putting in, this will help them to go even further.

“Ten isn’t the magic bullet that will solve all the problems today or tomorrow but it certainly goes a long ways in the right direction.”

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