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enforcement

Police Governance

Police Governance

While I have a great deal of faith in our local RCMP members, I think there is a gap in our community: we don’t have the full degree of civilian oversight which legislation allows us to have.

The Alberta Police Act is the main piece of legislation laying out how police interact with their local communities. It does not grant City Council any degree of oversight to our RCMP detachment. However, the Act does allow Council to establish a Policing Committee. If formed, this Committee would have legislated oversight of the RCMP. For example, it would have a say in who our Detachment Commander is, and it would work with that person to develop yearly plans and strategies.

Any community would be well served by having this type of police governance in place. However, I think there are new circumstances making a Policing Committee especially important right now:

  • Growing concerns about crime. As concern grows, residents are looking for more evidence that their priorities are reflected in our policing. A Policing Committee can ensure the RCMP are acting on local priorities. A Policing Committee is also well equipped to report back to the public on RCMP matters.

  • Unionization of the RCMP. RCMP members are unionizing, and this will likely raise their employment costs significantly. As taxpayers contribute more to policing, we need to ensure good value is being returned. A Policing Committee will provide the necessary oversight to ensure we are getting the best possible results from our RCMP contract.

  • Upcoming changes to municipal policing. It is very likely that the way the RCMP handles municipal policing will change dramatically in the next 5-10 years. As it does, we will need local civilians who are familiar with police governance to help our community navigate change. A Policing Committee will allow us to grow that capacity in Grande Prairie.

Parades and Facebook Tirades

Parades and Facebook Tirades

Since last July, there have been two fatalities at Canadian parades. This makes safety at our parades a top priority for me.

One important safety step taken at our Canada Day Parade: Enforcement Services was on site at the end point. Before drivers left, officers were checking to ensure loads were secure, passengers had seat belts, and other safety laws were being followed. My understanding is that several vehicles planning to depart were warned but not given tickets.

I would’ve been angry if this WASN’T happening. Last year, a man in Abbotsford died after the Canada Day Parade. He was on a float driving away, fell, and was run over. Knowing about this, I specifically looked to ensure we had people checking floats as they left.

Exactly one ticket was issued to a driver proceeding into regular traffic. There was a child without proper safety restraints in the cab.

There was a lot of anger about this on Facebook. Some [wrongly] alleged that multiple tickets were issued. And some suggested that Enforcement Services shouldn’t have been there at all.

I understand, but don’t agree with, the anger about the single ticket being issued. But, I really don’t understand those suggesting Enforcement Services shouldn’t have even been present at all. As the main organizer, the City is responsible to ensure floats leave safely.

I was also very disappointed to see the Facebook conversation. There was a lot of misinformation and destructive language being thrown around. This isn’t good for our community.

It’s fair and important to criticize government. But doing that in an abusive manner isn’t necessary or constructive.

I’d love to hear from you. Whether you have a different understanding of events, questions, or concerns: I’m happy to talk.