Committed to enhancing Stettler RCMP patrol, Town of Stettler council welcomed news last week that more police officers will be added locally in the next five years.
Although Mayor Dick Richards is content with the current Stettler RCMP roster of one commander and seven general duty officers under the town’s contract, he has long requested more officers for the County of Stettler ranks, which currently have three.
“I would like to see two more for the county,” Richards said.
The mayor and council heard last week that more personnel is also a priority for the RCMP K Division.
“Stettler is in line to get more resources — Stettler is in the five-year plan,” said Glenn de Goeij, K Division inspector for client services, who discussed the issue at the town’s council meeting last week.
That meeting was set up after town officials expressed concerns and priorities to the provincial government ministry and police officials during the fall convention of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association in late September.
Recently, Stettler and other Alberta municipalities signed a 20-year agreement for RCMP service, which expires in 2032.
While towns with populations of more than 5,000 subsidize policing, the Stettler mayor pleaded that all municipalities pay a fair share.
“Shouldn’t we look at everyone paying for policing?” Richards said.
“Urban taxpayers will continue to subsidize rural policing.”
Funding from rural municipalities continues to be considered by the provincial government, said Gloria Ohrt, the executive-director for the Alberta Solicitor General’s office.
“The government chose not to move forward on this at this time, but continues to study it more and plans to consult more with municipalities.”
Responding to a question from Coun. Al Campbell, Ohrt said that if rural municipalities pay for policing, costs to urban municipalities would not be reduced.
The town and police continue to maintain a strong relationship, which is expected to be further enhanced under the contract.
“We have a good relationship with the RCMP,” Richards said.
Under the new contract, Stettler and other RCMP detachments will add links to the community, including a policing committee, a police advisory committee of residents, an annual performance pay by the commander, a community board that will be part of the process to select a sergeant, and added ways for citizens to report complaints and ideas to help the police service be more proficient, efficient and effective.