The next few months for Marianne Ryan, commanding officer of RCMP K Division, will be spent mulling over where to place 40 new frontline officers recently funded by the province.
Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis announced Monday the government is investing about $227 million this year for RCMP, including $5.9 million for the additional officers. As part of the Provincial Police Service Agreement (PPSA), the RCMP serves rural communities that don’t have their own police service.
Although it’s not known where exactly the new officers will be placed, what is known is that one of them will be stationed full-time at the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in Calgary, and another at the Zebra Child Protection Centre in Edmonton. Currently there are no full-time RCMP officers embedded at either centre, despite a demanding workload.
Bob Hassel, CEO of the Zebra Centre, said staff are “absolutely ecstatic” about the recent announcement.
“It’s phenomenal. We’ll have our own centre where we can just help children from all across the province — both rural and urban settings,” said Hassel, adding the centre currently has 10 full-time Edmonton police detectives. Last year, they assisted the RCMP with 59 of their files.
“That’s fairly significant,” said Hassel. “Whoever they bring in here will be quite busy and have the support of the whole centre behind them.”
Where the remaining 38 officers will go has yet to be determined. Every year, the province works closely with the RCMP to prioritize where the greatest needs are based on resources available and funding.
“All of these officers will be going to areas that they are most needed,” said Ryan, noting the RCMP is actively recruiting.
“This certainly helps significantly. Everyone could use more, but this is going to go a long way in serving our communities well and addressing that front line policing response.”
The province has more than 1,500 RCMP officers stationed in communities served by the PPSA. The province also provides funding to the RCMP for specific areas, such as organized crime and First Nations in the city.
— PAMELA ROTH, Sun Media News Services