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Grande Prairie is in the final stages of deciding to create a municipal police service and Alberta’s government is ready to help them do so. If passed, Budget 2023 will provide $9.7 million over two years toward the costs associated with starting a local police service.
"Alberta’s government is ready to support Grande Prairie as the city improves public safety by exploring new and innovative approaches toward local policing. Having a community-led and focused police service will ensure Grande Prairie is finding unique solutions that will better serve their region.”
The City of Grande Prairie is currently policed by the RCMP under an agreement between the municipality and Public Safety Canada. A recent review of policing independently completed by the city found a significant level of concern with the current policing arrangement. To address these concerns, Grande Prairie commissioned a detailed transition study and public engagement process in September 2022 to consider other police service models.
If Grande Prairie proceeds with setting up a municipal police service, provincial funding will help to offset startup costs such as equipment, uniforms, vehicles and information technology.
“This initial funding gives us confidence that the province will support the City of Grande Prairie should council decide on March 6 to proceed with a municipal police service model.”
The province recognizes that startup costs could be a barrier for communities that want to establish a municipal or regional police service. Alberta’s government supports municipalities studying and developing alternate policing models as a way to address public safety concerns and ensure policing priorities are aligned with local priorities. Every municipality and region has unique needs and they are in the best position to decide how to improve safety in their community.
“As Grande Prairie works toward establishing its own community-driven police force, the Alberta government is fully supportive. This is an excellent example of a made-in-Alberta solution that will strengthen enforcement.”
“Crime has been an ongoing concern for rural Albertans and the community hubs that support policing of these large, sparsely populated areas. I am pleased to work with the City of Grande Prairie to support alternatives to address policing concerns going forward.”
Funding for Grande Prairie is based on the city going ahead with a municipal police service. If Grande Prairie establishes a municipal police service, the provincial government is prepared to work closely with municipal officials to ensure that public safety is maintained during any transition period.
- Under Alberta’s Police Act, towns and cities with populations greater than 5,000 are responsible for their own policing.
- The Police Act gives municipalities the option of having their own police service, forming a regional policing arrangement or contracting for the provincial police’s services (i.e., the RCMP under Alberta’s provincial police service agreement).
- In 2022, Alberta’s government established the Community Policing Grant, which offers Indigenous communities and municipalities up to $30,000 toward developing a business case examining local needs, capital requirements and transition considerations.