The City of Leduc wants the positions they’ve paid for filled with police officers.
At the Jan. 12 council meeting, councilors decided to submit a resolution supporting the Federation of Canadian Municipalities own resolution to have the RCMP, federal and provincial governments develop a strategy ensuring that the agreed upon RCMP staffing levels in any detachment are maintained year round.
“This is not about those dedicated men and women on the street. This is a concern with the recruitment process and policies that result in those positions not being filled,” said City manager Paul Benedetto.
Councilor Dana Smith said over the past five years the issue has been regularly brought up at Alberta Urban Municipalities Association meetings. “We’re lobbying to ensure RCMP members are getting what we’re funding. Getting boots on the streets,” she said.
Under current arrangements, the City of Leduc pays the RCMP for police services but positions are often empty due to retirements, transfers, health issues, vacation, personal leaves, and maternity or paternity leaves. While council said it understands this happens, they want the RCMP and federal and provincial governments to figure out how to maintain staffing levels when those members are away.
Given Leduc’s rapid growth, the City is under pressure to increase the number of police officers in the community but council is frustrated that positions already paid for are empty.
“One of the first positions that gets moved when there is a (General Duty) position that needs to be filled is the School Resource Offficer, Community Policing and Victim Services,” said Councillor Glen Finstand. Moving those officers makes it difficult for them to build relationships with youth in the schools and develop programs intended to increase safety in the community.
“It’s been so frustrating,” said Deputy-Mayor Bob Young. “Over the last 10 years we keep trying to put in more members and it’s frustrating when that doesn’t happen. Hopefully this will finally happen.”
The resolution is being submitted in time for the FCM’s 2015 conference, scheduled for June in Edmonton.