Albertans need a public safety task force, not a new police service
Alberta Municipalities' Board of Directors issued an official statement on Sept. 1 to ensure no one was in doubt as to where our members stand when it comes to the provincial police service deployment plan introduced by the Government of Alberta in early August 2022.
The official statement also encouraged the provincial government to form a public safety task force. The idea arose during a 90-minute meeting between the Board and Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Tyler Shandro on August 25. While the Board thought the idea had considerable merit, it was reluctant to commit to participating without first ensuring the task force's mandate meets the public safety needs of ABmunis' 275 member communities.
"[O]ur association’s future participation in such a task force hinges on its stated mandate or purpose. If the task force's mandate is to develop models and solutions to improve public safety in our communities and throughout the province, regardless of who delivers community policing in Alberta, then we are ready to take part," said the statement. "If, however, its mandate is to continue with the model as currently proposed and/or how to transition to an Alberta Provincial Police Service, then our member municipalities have been clear that they do not support this direction and they would need to be consulted to determine our association's further involvement," the statement continued.
It is worth noting that Alberta Municipalities has repeatedly encouraged the provincial government over the past 10 months to focus on the fundamental question Albertans want answered: how can we enhance public safety for all Albertans? Instead, the provincial government has chosen to focus on how the province can distance itself from Ottawa.
The Board hopes to hear more about the creation of a provincial public safety task force from Minister Shandro in the coming days. It encourages the Government of Alberta to look past political differences and do what is right for all Albertans. As the Board points out, our province's future public safety depends on it.
Click here to read the full news release.