By Cole Parkinson
Municipalities in the area will be on the hook for policing costs for this year and the next several years due to changes made by the United Conservative government.
With many municipalities working to build those costs into their 2020 budget, questions around more policing within those areas have been prevalent.
During the Municipal District of Taber’s regular meeting on Jan. 14, with the RCMP’s monthly delegation in council chambers, council was able to ask questions about the policing cost model.
“How involved has the RCMP been in the new police model cost that has been put on municipalities in the province? My question is, we are going to be on the hook for around $200,000 this year and over $500,000 in five years, are we going to see more members here that will be working to keep crime under control? From your perspective, what are we getting out of this?” asked Reeve Merrill Harris. “The last two months going to Mayors and Reeves, that’s the big question. We are all going to contribute more so what are we going to get for it? No one has been able to answer that question.”
With the policing cost model, the M.D. is scheduled to pay $194,241 in year one, $291,570 in year two, $388,481 in year three and $583,139 in years four and five.
The Village of Barnwell and Town of Vauxhall will also be required to pay for their policing.
For Vauxhall, year one sees them paying $20,787, $31,203 in year two, $41,574 in year three and $62,406 in years four and five.
Barnwell will see a cost of $16,721 in year one, $25,100 in year two, $33,443 in year three and $50,200 in years four and five.
The UCP has also committed $286 million over those next five years to add 300 RCMP officers across the province.
As far as the local RCMP is concerned, the announcements around additional RCMP officers coming into Alberta has been a welcome one.
“When I heard the announcement, for me, I was encouraged by it because we had heard a lot of things building up to it. I would really be remised if I didn’t mention through my travels many different things. I’ve heard talk that there may be some appetite for a regional police force or something along those lines within the M.D. of Taber,” said Sgt. Gord Yetman. “With this announcement, what I can tell you is that we are going to see an influx of members into the province. There are going to have to be individual asks on the part of individual detachments. On a bright note, I have met a couple of commanders that have actually already seen some new members come in so the bulk of those members are going to the frontline. In my position, I am going to make an ask for an additional resource or two if I can get it. I’ll have to see where that goes.”
As far as if any of those officers would be making their way to the M.D. of Taber, Yetman was not 100 per cent sure.
With that said, he did explain how he would be doing his best to try and get some additional resources to the Taber/Vauxhall detachment.
“I am a results and feedback-driven guy. Along those lines, I would always ask if there are things you think we can do better, please let us know. If we are doing a good job, let us know as well. As far as if we are going to see new members, I can’t saw 100 per cent. What I can tell you is I will certainly try and get my share of what is going to be made available. We are early into this so we have to see if we can get any increase to my establishment. If there is any hope in getting an increase to our detachment, I will certainly do my best to get it,” he said. “I think it will boil down to the size of the detachments. The encouraging thing for me is the positions are coming to the frontline. That is definitely what Taber is, we are a frontline detachment. We are the police service of jurisdiction for the M.D. of Taber and that is not something I take lightly. If there is a piece of the pie to be had, I will get my piece of the pie.”