City council has approved a new contract with the RCMP that will see the force serve Red Deer for another 20 years.
New to the agreement is enhanced reporting and accountability which includes an annual provision of information back to administration for review. New items also include legal advisory services and additional commissionaires.
Councillor Tara Veer said when the issue of which police service provider the City would go with came up there were a few things that were looked at.
“One of these areas was council’s ability to influence local police. People were worried with the RCMP that we wouldn’t have much control,” said Veer.
Greg Scott, director of community services, said with the new agreement that council does have increased say in what happens and that there will be better correspondence between the two units to provide clarity.
“With this agreement you have the ability to have involvement and responsibility for setting priorities and goals from the community’s perspective.”
Scott said that there is a strong will with RCMP Supt. Warren Dosko and the detachment to work with the public and meet the needs of Red Deer.
It was also said by Scott that it should be a number of years before the City again looks at changing to municipal policing or remaining with the RCMP.
There is a termination clause in the agreement that requires only 24 months notice to exit the agreement. To Scott’s knowledge he said there is no charge to the City if they choose to exit the agreement.
“I see some benefits to the new agreement in terms of having more input from the elected officials,” said Councillor Chris Stephan.
Stephan, however, decided not to support the agreement because he feels he can’t justify entering into a 20-year agreement value at almost half a billion dollars.
Veer said when the study originally came about it was noted that the public wanted enhanced local service levels and priorities.
“It has been a long journey to get here and I like some of the changes. Yes it’s about enforcement but it’s also about how council works with our agencies,” said Councillor Dianne Wyntjes.
Police services in Red Deer are currently provided through a contract with the Government of Canada. This contract expires March 31 and council had until that time to sign a new agreement.
Things that won’t change from the old agreement to the new one include the 90/10 cost sharing ratio, and that the municipality will still maintain control over increases and decreases in the number of RCMP members.
There will be a moderate increase in overall cost of approximately 1.8% but Scott pointed out that this adjustment had been looked at during budget deliberations and shouldn’t affect operations costs.
The overall increase is estimated between $270,000 and $300,000.
“I often think when we write contracts we try too hard to predict every circumstance but we can’t do that. There may be surprises but in terms of the relationship we have established we can work through that,” said Wyntjes.