Grande Prairie City Council has authorized up to $250,000 from Council’s Strategic Initiatives Fund for City Administration to develop a detailed transition and public consultation plan to further assess establishing a municipal police service.
In addition to approving the funding, Council directed administration to provide City Council and the Municipal Policing Advisory Committee:
- project milestones and the community engagement plan.
- another point in time look at the statistics found in the Police Model Review Study 5.3.2 under Retention, and the number of supervisor positions which are vacant and being filled by members in acting roles.
The decisions follow an initial Police Service Model Review requested by City Council in 2021.
“City Council often hears from members of the public concerned about community safety and crime which is why the City chose to move forward with a Police Service Model Review,” said Jackie Clayton, City of Grande Prairie Mayor. “Our goal from today’s decision is to further understand the public sentiment related to policing through public consultation and assess the benefits, risks, costs, and viability of a locally responsive police service prior to making the final decision to transition towards a municipal police service.”
The Police Service Model Review indicates transitioning to a municipal police service would provide a locally responsive policing model through an independent municipal police oversight body that ensures police service meets the local community needs.
The review also finds that the operational, front-line policing services provided by Grande Prairie RCMP are considered acceptable and the officers assigned to the community are well regarded and viewed as hardworking. However, there are concerns about recruitment and retention, the high costs related to salaries and support services, and the larger RCMP organization’s ability to provide policing from a locally responsive context
Following today’s decision by City Council, City administration will proceed with a third-party analysis to further assess the viability of a municipal police service at a granular level and an in-depth public consultation to assess what the public prefers to see in a modern municipal police service.
The findings of this analysis are expected to return to City Council in early 2023, at which time City Council may choose to proceed with a municipal police service. If proceeding with a municipal police force, there would be a minimum two-year transition period to ensure the community remains well-serviced by a hybrid police service until the transition is complete.
Information provided by the City of Grande Prairie