Lloydminster City Council has given a thumbs up to retaining the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the bi-provincial municipality.
An Alberta based policing option was shot down by Council as being cost prohibitive, given the added benefits that the RCMP brings to the table and the costs incurred by other jurisdictions like Surrey in B.C. that have gone that route.
Mayor Gerald Aalbers indicated that those added policing benefits means those are resources that do not come out of the City coffers.
“The RCMP, when they provide a contract it’s all encompassing. The helicopter was here for over a week. We had several additional members of the RCMP, just in a recent case. Other times when the Emergency Response Team shows up, I’ve seen 50 members of the RCMP in our City that didn’t come out of our budget. That was part of the service.”
Lloydminster currently budgets some 6.9 million dollars to cover the cost of the RCMP. The Mayor said while we live in a very safe community, we do have crime. He has had the opportunity to ride along with officers as they perform their duties. He acknowledged that the RCMP work under some very frustrating conditions.
In the course of those duties, RCMP recently had a helicopter flying over Lloydminster neighbourhoods at night. This may have caused some unease and concern among residents, but the Mayor is assuring that the RCMP are doing their job.
“In the case of the helicopter flying over our City, that was to aid in a long term management of some issues. I think we need to realize that the RCMP will do their job. The RCMP take time to make press releases, because until all the information is there, they cannot release it because it compromises the investigation.”
Mayor Aalbers widened the discussion by recognizing that citizens have concerns about the Criminal Justice system. The Mayor referenced the Law’s balancing of the individual rights under the criminal code of Canada as well as protecting the public.
“It’s difficult when the RCMP do arrest people, that before they have even gone to court to face their first charge, they have been brought back in for whatever that charge is. It is a cycle. I know the MLA’s are aware of it. Both governments are aware of it. The system is aware of it. There have been more Crown Prosecutors added to the system.”
The Mayor added that this is an ongoing challenge, being addressed by all levels of government and the criminal justice system.