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Coaldale citizens concerned about future of policing

Posted on July 17, 2014 by Sunny South News

Recently, it was announced by the Town of Coaldale, council received permission from the Alberta Solicitor General of Alberta to withdraw services of the Lethbridge Regional Police Service (LRPS) and for council to enter into a Municipal Police Service Agreement (MPSA) with Canada for the provision of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Many business owners and many residents of Coaldale are unhappy with, what some residents say, was a lack of public consultation on the important matter, including the Coaldale and District Chamber of Commerce.

“The committee and its members at the chamber of commerce wish to express their deep concern, with regard to the change to our policing — from LRPS to the RCMP,” said John Pollemans, past president and member of the Coaldale chamber of commerce.

Coaldale council, Pollemans said, has chosen not to consult the chamber and/or its residents on the future of policing in the community. Pollemans noted at a recent monthly chamber meeting Mayor Craig was present to discuss what was happening with policing in the town. Pollemans added it was stated at the meeting, “as a council, the town chose not to engage the public on the matter.”

Pollemans said, the chamber would like to know what prompted council to be so sure about such a significant change to the service Coaldale presently has.

According to Pollemans, the chamber is very concerned about the safety for residents and the business community of Coaldale.

“The lack of consultation adds contempt for people of Coaldale and the concerns that they may wish to voice,” he added.

As for community service, Pollemans said, the chamber is disappointed the organization has not been involved in any of the negotiations or consultations to this point. “We feel strongly that we should be party to such a huge decision that will affect the lives of the people in our community.”

On a personal level, Pollemans said, he feels the change in policing is a major concern to every single one of the town’s residents and business owners in Coaldale, if a change means there could possibly be a deterioration of present service. “Surely, we should expect to receive the same service, as we have always had or better,” said Pollemans.

A spokesperson for the LRPS stated the regional police service will continue to provide policing services to the Town of Coaldale, until such time an alternative agreement is put in place. “For now, it’s business as usual,” said the spokesperson, adding the actual contract is between the Town of Coaldale and the City of Lethbridge.

LRPS has no further comments at this time.

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