City of Grande Prairie expected to vote on municipal police force Monday
A municipality in northern Alberta is meeting Monday to discuss a proposed city police force that would replace the RCMP.
The Alberta government announced last month that it would give Grande Prairie $9.7 million if council were to vote in favour of establishing a city police force.
The total cost of the proposed police service is estimated to be $19 million.
The province has said it would help cover startup and transitional costs over two years.
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The RCMP currently provides policing services to the city of about 64,000 people.
City council heard that the 2022 budget for policing provided by RCMP (estimated expenses minus grants and revenues) was $25.8 million.
City council is expected to make a decision Monday afternoon.
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“This isn’t a new exploration for us. This has been over a couple of years,” Grande Prairie Mayor Jackie Clayton said at a news conference Feb. 22.
She says there are many benefits to switching from the RCMP to a municipal police service.
“Including increasing local oversight, accountability and efficiency offered through a local police commission and local decision-making autonomy,” Clayton added.
She also believes this will increase officer recruitment and help with retention.
The province is partnering with municipalities to help them with costs related to starting their own municipal police services.
“It’s about saying: ‘What’s the best needs for that municipality?’ In some cases, there are some municipalities that have reached out to us and made it explicitly clear, saying: ‘We are content with the current model that we have,’” Alberta public safety minister Mike Ellis said.
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— With files from Global News
&© 2023 The Canadian Press
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