Lakeland communities will have more police officers soon.
Cold Lake, Bonnyville, St. Paul, Elk Point, and Athabasca are getting five RCMP members total, after an announcement Thursday of 76 new police officer and 57 new civilian support positions for 2020/2021, which are meant to directly and indirectly support frontline policing across the province.
This additional money comes from the new Alberta’s Police Funding Model.
According to the RCMP, both targeting and reducing rural crime goes hand-in-hand with sufficient resources, demonstrated by boots on the ground.
“Rural Albertans asked for action against rising crime, and our government responded with Alberta’s largest single investment in policing since the RCMP’s March West,” said Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Doug Schweitzer in a press release.
“Putting more boots on the ground in rural Alberta will help protect residents and ensure they feel safe in their communities.”
To date, 46 positions have been filled to increase rural policing levels and to enhance rural crime reduction efforts.
The filled positions include 25 frontline police positions in Alberta rural communities, 18 centralized police officer positions to provide support and specialized services to all rural Alberta RCMP detachments, and three civilian support positions to provide administrative and program support across the RCMP provincial jurisdiction.
The allocation of resources was determined by an analysis of the workload undertaken at each detachment location.
Factors such as travel time, call volume, the type of crimes occurring in the area, amount of time required for investigations, size of detachment, and time available for proactive policing — which includes strategic patrols, community engagement, visiting schools, and attending community events.
“Policing and public safety resourcing levels continue to be an issue for rural communities across Alberta. It is encouraging to see the RCMP partially investing the increased police cost contributions from rural municipalities into frontline resources in rural Alberta,” said Rural Municipalities of Alberta, president Al Kemmere.
“RMA looks forward to working with the RCMP and Government of Alberta to identify how rural municipalities can have greater input into determining where increased rural policing resources are distributed throughout the province, which will hopefully lead to improved rural service levels.”