The announcement of Alberta's Police Funding Model has resulted in additional resources for the Alberta RCMP for 2020/21, specifically 76 new police officers and 57 new civilian support positions. These additional resources will directly or indirectly support frontline policing in communities we serve across rural Alberta.
The Alberta RCMP understands that police resource levels are of particular importance to our communities and even more so under the new funding model. We know that targeting and reducing rural crime goes hand-in-hand with sufficient resources as demonstrated by boots on the ground. Within the RCMP's integrated service delivery model, detachment resources are augmented by centralized frontline support and specialized units as well as by civilian support positions. This means that the benefit of additional RCMP resources can be felt in communities across Alberta.
To date, we have filled a total of 46 positions to increase rural policing levels and to enhance rural crime reduction efforts. The filled positions include 25 frontline police positions in Alberta rural communities; 18 centralized police officer positions to provide support and specialized services to all rural Alberta RCMP detachments; and three civilian support positions to provide administrative and program support across the RCMP provincial jurisdiction.
To determine allocation of new resources, an analysis of workload was undertaken at each detachment location. This analysis included factors such as travel time, call volume, the type of crimes occurring in the area, amount of time required for investigations, size of detachment, and time available for proactive policing, which includes strategic patrols, community engagement, visiting schools, and attending community events.
The following detachments have received new frontline police positions:
- Western Alberta District: Five positions - Beaverlodge, Edson, Evansburg, Mayerthorpe and Valleyview
- Southern Alberta District: Five positions - Airdrie (two positions), Cochrane, Okotoks and Strathmore
- Central Alberta District: 10 positions - Camrose, Blackfalds, Leduc, Morinville, Parkland, Rocky Mountain House (two positions), Stettler, Strathcona and Thorsby
- Eastern Alberta District: Five positions - Athabasca, Bonnyville, Cold Lake, Elk Point and St. Paul
Frontline support units and specialized units, while generally located centrally, benefit communities across Alberta by augmenting RCMP detachment resources through critical frontline support and coordinated specialized operational, tactical, and investigational services. The following units have received additional resources:
- Frontline support units: 12 positions
- Call Back Unit (10 positions) – Not every call requires an immediate, in-person police response. The Call Back Unit (CBU) focuses support to rural detachments by managing lower priority calls that do not require direct police attendance such as reports of stolen property, minor motor vehicle accidents, gas-n-dash, and general inquiries. The CBU, with locations in Calgary and Edmonton, will each receive five additional resources. These employees ensure that Albertans receive the guidance and support they require, whether that involves initiating a police file, discussing a matter with the individual or providing crime prevention advice and guidance. While members working in the CBU handle low priority calls for service, frontline members are able to focus on higher priority calls, emergencies and intelligence-led proactive policing.
- "K" Member Operational Support Section (KMOSS) (two positions) – Embedded within the Operational Communications Centres, KMOSS members are supervisors who provide front line, 24-hour/7-day policing support to all detachments and business lines in Alberta. KMOSS members provide oversight, guidance and monitoring in high risk incidents, events in progress and multi-jurisdictional occurrence. KMOSS also reviews calls for service in detachments without 24-hour coverage and handles inquiries and initial complaints from the public. For rural communities KMOSS is an integral resource for frontline members during unfolding events.
- Specialized Units: Six positions
- Provincial Child Advocacy Centres (three positions) – Specialized RCMP interviewers are embedded in the various Child Advocacy Centres across Alberta to provide support and conduct investigations related to offences against children and youth under the age of 18. These positions are located in Edmonton, Red Deer, and Calgary. Members employed in the CACs are trained in specialized techniques to gather accurate and extensive memory recall about abuse and trauma while limiting the impact on the child or youth. Members in these positions typically have years of experience and training directly related to working with children and youth. Additionally, CACs have resources that rural detachments do not have access to in order to support the families from the initial stage of the investigation through to the end of the criminal justice process and beyond.
- South Emergency Response Team (three positions) – The Emergency Response Team (ERT) is a group of highly-trained RCMP members who have the capability of employing specialized tactics and equipment to resolve extremely high-risk situations. The potentially violent and often dynamic nature of these incidents requires a highly integrated and coordinated tactical response. At any given moment, in any community in Alberta, crisis can arise; because of this, it is imperative that ERT teams are strategically positioned in the north and south of the province so that an efficient response is possible. The additional resources allocated to the south ERT team will augment the existing team.
The following civilian positions, while centrally located, support frontline policing to benefit communities across rural Alberta:
- Court Case Management (CCM) – One position in support of provincial initiatives to streamline electronic disclosure processes, which will significantly reduce the average time police officers spend assembling court packages and will expedite the process of getting files into the court system. The CCM position has enhanced access to statistical information, while at the same time serving as a subject matter expert accessible to all detachments across Alberta for guidance on all things related to disclosure: from troubleshooting to training to policy guidance. Similar to the CBU, for smaller, rural detachments, these positions are essential as they alleviate administrative tasks from frontline members so they can be on the road and not in the office.
- Criminal Operations Strategic Management Services – Two positions to enhance and support our capacity in implementing programs to address and reduce rural crime throughout Alberta. While centrally located, their workload is focused on strategies to reduce crime in Alberta's rural communities.
Additionally, there will be four positions added to each of the following programs in each district:
- Offender Management Program (four positions) – These positions will be located in each of the RCMP's four district offices and will provide support to detachments within the respective district areas. The employees in the Offender Management Program utilize data and intelligence to identify the individuals hurting the communities the most. Once individuals are selected and accept our help, employees work with the client to identify the root problems causing the cycle of crime. The program offers a collaborative support system including police, justice, mental health, social services and addictions support. Employees in the program are responsible for overseeing detachment coordinators for offender management and will provide training and mentorship for offender management, directly engage with offenders where required, and help facilitate case development groups in the district.
- Community Engagement and Outreach Specialists (four positions) – Project Lock Up is a framework that enables the RCMP and its enforcement and citizen-led stakeholders to place a spotlight on repeat victims of property crime. At the district level, these employees will work with the regular member liaisons for Rural Crime Watch and Citizen on Patrol groups to ensure consistency with program delivery from detachments across the province. These interventions will greatly help to reduce crime in rural areas, alleviating pressures from general duty members.
"Rural Albertans asked for action against rising crime, and our government responded with Alberta's largest single investment in policing since the RCMP's March West. Putting more boots on the ground in rural Alberta will help protect residents and ensure they feel safe in their communities."
– Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
"AUMA members expect and need to see more front-line police resources. We appreciate that it takes time to fill and train these new resources, and we expect there will be net new resources coming soon. We are happy to be on the path, but there is still a lot of work to be done. We continue to advocate that because municipalities pay for policing, we must have input into the delivery of police service in communities."
– Barry Morishita, President, Alberta Urban Municipalities Association
"Policing and public safety resourcing levels continue to be an issue for rural communities across Alberta. It is encouraging to see the RCMP partially investing the increased police cost contributions from rural municipalities into frontline resources in rural Alberta. RMA looks forward to working with the RCMP and Government of Alberta to identify how rural municipalities can have greater input into determining where increased rural policing resources are distributed throughout the province, which will hopefully lead to improved rural service levels."
– Al Kemmere, President, Rural Municipalities of Alberta
"The RCMP is committed to working in partnership with our communities to ensure Albertans feel safe, in their homes, in their backyards, and in their farmyards. The new funding will allow us to directly and indirectly support frontline policing by adding new police officers and support positions in our detachments, ultimately benefiting the communities we serve across Alberta."
– Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablocki, Commanding Officer, Alberta RCMP
This new funding is an unprecedented financial commitment to policing in response to the concerns expressed by rural Alberta communities. The Alberta RCMP is committed to continuing our efforts to provide Albertans with the high quality, modern provincial police service that they expect and deserve.