Former RCMP Officer Buck Buchanan is seeking another term on Red Deer council and sees this term as an opportunity to continue and finish much of the work the current council has done.
“I think the reason I have decided to run again is there is always things that are undone and things that are coming that you want to see to fruition,” Buchanan said. “We have the Winter Games coming, so that is one of the major things on the horizon. We are always working on the crime situation and that is why I originally ran in 2004. I didn’t get elected that year but I ran in ‘07. I’m trying to make that better and it is always a hot issue for folks.”
Buchanan, who initially ran in 2004 looking to reduce crime rates, said it remains a big issue for the City to address.
“We have looked at a lot of things over the years,” he said. “We are running on a contract (with the RCMP) and contracts are interesting animals. You hand something over to your contracted service and say ‘provide X’. Municipalities are getting better with providing input to the RCMP. The RCMP has an annual APP – Annual Police Performance Plan. It has had the tendency to be a bit more national rather then bringing it down to the local level. We are getting better at that.
“The new APP comes out in early August and you will see it is more municipality focused. That is based on being a service and providing the best service for people. Property offences are up but they are up all over. They are up all over the province and how do you deal with it?”
Buchanan believes part of this problem will be dealt with the recent provincial announcement of a new Red Deer courthouse, however he said more work needs to be done on the preventative and education aspects of policing.
“We had the announcement a couple months ago regarding the courthouse, so we are getting more capacity that way,” he said. “The provinces announced they are bringing in more prosecutors and judges. It is not only about incarceration because there are costs associated with that. It is about education in a lot of instances.”
Buchanan said much of municipality costs can be alleviated by working with what they have rather then hiring more staff.
“We get into a system of, ‘This is the way we do it’,” he explained. “We can have a hard time of looking inwards and saying, ‘How could we do it?’ People get into saying we need capacity – so more and more people,” he said.
Buchanan used the example of the municipal protective services division that has already seen success.
“City managers said we need more administration and council said no,” he said. “You have the horses from within, make it happen and that has happened. The more people you get, it gets to point of how can you make a decision?”
Ensuring that council is listening to Red Deerians is something that is also important to Buchanan.
“We have done a lot when it comes to dialogue, however we still aren’t necessarily doing a great job on that,” he said. “You don’t have to fight City Hall, City Hall is on your team. We want to make things happen for people rather then make it difficult. We want to have open lines of communication. The role of governance is ensuring that everyone is getting value for money. People want to be heard.”
He added, “The biggest thing for me is being a conduit for people and organizations.”
Buchanan hopes he will be able to finish the work he has started on council.
“I like to bring some experience to the table; I like to feel like I’m helping folks; I like to think I am making things better for folks and moving the dial a bit. I’m hoping that is enough to get me over the top,” he said. “It sounds like there will be a lot of folks running and good quality folks – as there always is.”