At a recent operating budget meeting City council heard from RCMP Police Chief Warren Dosko regarding the RCMP funding adjustment requests and future plans.
Councillors knew about the requests and had mentioned before the council meeting that a lot of the funds would be denied for the RCMP due to financial restrictions on the 2012 budget.
“We have significant work to be done in the area of our service plans and standards but we see the need to have workshops with council to move forward,” said Dosko.
He said one of the main focuses for the detachment is change and the policing study that was done will bring forward some of that desired change.
“It’s a very critical time in the evolution of policing in Red Deer and council has a significant opportunity to have an influence over what that change will look like in the community.”
Dosko said at no point does he want to see the governing ability of City council change and their input is always welcome and helpful.
Even just at the front counter at the new detachment building Dosko said the RCMP has a chance to change the way they deliver service.
“We want to try to eliminate wait lines for people that have urgent matters to report as opposed to having them waiting.”
Questions from council members included inquiries about how much foot patrol is currently mandated as well as how the RCMP plans to prevent crime in the future.
“One of the best industry practices is ensuring that a quarter of each officer’s day is available for proactive enforcement including foot patrol,” said Dosko.
The funding adjustment requests from the RCMP total $1,225,566 but much of this funding has not been recommended by City Manager Craig Curtis.
Funding requests that Curtis did not recommend include two community peace officers for $89,088, a court liaison for $38,960, a municipal employee video capture technician/training and development facilitator for $41,000 and an additional four members to the RCMP for a cost of $271,672.
Dosko said the importance of the court liaison position would be to free up the time of officers if they were not required to attend court on a specific day.
Councillor Chris Stephan said that Red Deer has been named one of the most dangerous cities in Canada and that per capita has more murders than Edmonton. “It’s something a lot of people in our community are worried about.”
Dosko added, “When I hear the words crime prevention I hear the words social development. How can we ensure that our young people are not committing crime? We have to ask what the root causes of our crime are and as a community how we can respond to these social ills.”
Councillor Paul Harris said he feels like this community is a safe one and added in neighbourhoods where residents feel safe, people also feel they can’t commit crime.
“If we make people feel safe it may change the amount of crime that happens.”
The funding requests that were recommended by Curtis included a criminal analyst that would enable comprehensive reviews and analysis of crime data within the City.
“Part of the position is crime mapping and finding prolific offenders and crime hot spots,” said Dosko.
He added the criminal analyst would also make the public more aware of what was going on so they could take a stand in preventing crime.
“If you know what’s happening in your community you’ll take more steps to prevent it. If we engage the community so they’re aware then they can take the steps to prevent themselves from being a victim of crime.”