page contents Vote Dylan Bressey, candidate for Grande Prairie City Council. Election 2017. page contents

police

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.

Provincial Police Act Review

Provincial Police Act Review

Since November, I have been attending regular meetings hosted by the province. It is doing consultation in regards to updating the Police Act. I've learned a lot and have appreciated the opportunity to advocate for the City.

This Thursday, I'll be at a meeting about Roles and Responsibilities. Next week I'll be going to a meeting about Policy and Oversight. There will be a lot of questions discussed, but the two most important [in my mind]:

1) WHAT ROLES SHOULD POLICE OFFICERS HAVE IN THE COMMUNITY?

2) WHAT ROLE DO YOU EXPECT LOCAL OFFICIALS TO HAVE IN POLICE OVERSIGHT?