Red Deer City council voted unanimously to approve new policing plans for the City that also include the hiring of eight new officers, effective Oct. 1.
The governance, policing plan and crime prevention model reports allow a more proactive style of policing for the City.
“This policing plan outlines our service expectations and local priorities for policing,” said Councillor Tara Veer.
“This positions us as a community that shifts from reactive policing to proactive policing. We are looking ahead and foreseeing problems. Right now most (police) members’ time is spent just responding to calls, instead of allocating time to doing more intelligence or investigation.
“For example, we funded the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team to focus on intelligence-led investigations (re: drug enforcement and organized crime) because a lot of the personal and property crimes in Red Deer are centred around the drug trade.
“What this plan says is that 75 per cent of a member’s time will be in responding to calls, but we will resource policing so that 25 per cent of his time is devoted to proactive policing, so they can follow up on investigations more thoroughly.”
Councillor Chris Stephan said, “We’re going to be adding resources that we really need and I think it’s going to add safety to our community, so I absolutely support the plans and the increases we are doing in crime prevention as well. For both sides of it, for enforcement and prevention, the plans are a good benefit to the community.”
RCMP Supt. Warren Dosko said it also gives the department direction and a document to work off from.
“Without that (the new plans) we sometimes felt like we were in quicksand and never really knew where we stood,” he said. “It helps us know in which areas we should be bringing initiatives forward and has us avoid spending energy in areas where we don’t need to go right now; it’s not an issue that council sees as a community safety issue. It’s not just about what the police do and we have to work with the community and council.
“The more we are in step, the more effective we are going to be.”
Under the plan, priority 1 (urgent) and priority 2 (dispatch as soon as possible) calls to police need to be responded to in six minutes, a standard Dosko said it mostly achieves already.
Priority 3 calls (described as routine) response will be based on a call model to be determined in consultation with council.