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Edmonton Metro Police Service


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Aug 5, 2021
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If it is built right "yay" but that is a big "if". It could be super positive for its potential jurisdiction or otherwise simply another layer of bureaucracy.
I will be surprised if Strathcona County signs on. They have comparatively low police costs for a municipality their size (significantly less than Red Deer for example) which frees up their municipal budget for other things. Why would they want to leave a good thing and risk negative effects to their bottom line. Typically, they don't think much of how Edmonton operates so I could see resistance there on various fronts.
I don't know what I think about this, to be honest. I'm not for it or against it. Edmonton doesn't have too much control about what EPS does and does not police, so I don't think it makes a convincing argument to switch away from the RCMP. I don't know too much about this, but it seems to me like they have a similar level of control that Fort Saskatchewan and other regional municipalities do with the RCMP. I can't find information from other communities, so perhaps Fort Sask is an exception, but it has a Policing Committee that is made up of one councillor and six community members (who are approved by city council). They meet regularly throughout the year to meet with local detachment leadership, advise the RCMP on community priorities and educate them on various things in the community, and make recommendations to council. This allows the community to work closely with its local detachment and ensure that it is getting proper community policing. And trust me, with the right members it really makes a very positive difference. I think it's similar to Edmonton's Police Commission.

One of the largest issues with the RCMP is turnover - by the time local leadership becomes educated about, and used to working with local resource centres, victims services, etc., they tend to get shuffled out since career advancement in the RCMP generally comes with a transfer. That means the committee and local organizations need to start from square one pretty often. I don't know how this could be addressed, but I'd imagine that the RCMP could make changes to try and keep people in local communities more often than not. Having a metropolitan police service could also help with this, but I am skeptical that a metropolitan service could do better than this.

The author in this article pointed out that with a regional model, police services in the area could collaborate more seamlessly. However, there already is a regional component to an extent. RCMP detachments service smaller communities who don't have their own services (Fort Sask's detachment serves Bruderheim, Lamont, and more). They would need to be consulted in this, even though they don't have their own detachments.

With all that being said, this doesn't mean that I'm opposed to the idea. I'm more neutral than anything until I learn more about how this could work - assuming it gathers steam and gets fleshed out a bit. To be honest, I think we should also go a step further and regionalize many of our services and infrastructure portfolios. There are certain public services which make sense to "upload" to the regional level. Water and sewage are already regionalized to an extent, but it's piecemeal (Capital Region Northeast Water Services Commission, Alberta Capital Region Wastewater Commission, individual agreements with EPCOR, etc). Transit is just becoming more formalized now.

Our fire services also collaborate to an extent; Fort Sask and Strathcona County (for example) send crews and apparatus to each other's emergencies upon request, and they're even thinking of building and sharing a new station at the south of Fort Sask/north of Bremner since they'll both need a fire station in that area. And Edmonton often complains about the unfair burden regional residents place on its roads, but neighbouring communities bristle at the prospect of annexation. What is a potential solution? Expand the EMTSC's mandate! Translink, Metro Vancouver's regional service, also oversees the roads, bridges, and cycling infrastructure which connect the member communities.

In short, I think that the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board should be more than just a talking forum with "light" governance like density mandates. It should become a regional governance model, like how Metro Vancouver has a Mayor's council with the leaders of 20-something communities and Indigenous reserves. It should collect fees from municipalities to go towards regional infrastructure and services, and these services should be much more uniform and standardized. Regional transit is a good step, and regional policing has potential. But we need to stop looking at the trees, and start paying attention to the whole forest. It's time that we update our regional governance and services to meet the needs of our communities in the 21st Century.

Also, sorry that I focused so much on Fort Saskatchewan @Gronk! haha. It's just the community in the region which I know the most intimately, and I can't speak about the others in nearly as much detail or with this level of confidence.