Virtual summit explores the future of policing in Alberta

More than 400 local government officials, including mayors, councillors and chief administrative officers, participated in Alberta Municipalities’ virtual summit last night on the future of policing in Alberta. 

The two-hour event, hosted by Alberta Municipalities President Cathy Heron, presented association members with a summary of the key points made in the PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report commissioned by the Government of Alberta about the viability of creating a provincial police service. During the breakout session, members asked dozens of good questions about the accountability, funding, logistics, and operations of such an organization.

Indeed, the PwC viability report raises many unanswered questions, especially surrounding the funding and governance of a new police service. We hope the provincial government will answer these questions in the coming days and weeks.

We are concerned that the provincial government’s policing review does not deal with the major drivers of crime in Alberta. Rather than spend an estimated $360 million to transition from the RCMP to a new force, the Government of Alberta could choose to invest appropriately in the province’s affordable housing, mental health and addictions, and justice systems.

Alberta Municipalities is supportive of both the National Police Federation’s public consultation efforts and those of the Government of Alberta. These parallel public consultations should result in more information and greater transparency. They should also allow for a wider variety of viewpoints to be presented and considered. Many of our members plan to attend these sessions, listen, and ask questions.

We will continue advocating on behalf our 270+ member municipalities to the provincial government on this important issue. The topic will be among those addressed at our Municipal Leaders’ Caucus in early March 2022.