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Regional peace officer project proposed

Posted on August 27, 2014 by Sunny South News

Picture Butte town council had a number of favourable comments to make on a proposed regionalized community police officer project from the Town of Coaldale.

At a council meeting Aug.18, Mayor Wendy Jones said she wasn’t prepared to make a decision that night on the project, but she felt it was certainly a “good way to go.”

She did have some questions and concerns after reviewing the proposal.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Mike Derricott told council he would be meeting with Coaldale and other potential partners in the project.

He asked council to review the proposal and provide him with any input they want him to bring to the meeting.

He said for Picture Butte the regionalization would help with bylaw enforcement, traffic issues and educational components within the local schools.

“There are some things that are great in here,” said Coun. Cathy Moore.

She did have some concerns including the issue of ticket quotas. She said she is not in favour of a specified number of tickets being issued by officers.

Derricott noted as he understands it each community would be able to indicate the level of enforcement they would like to see in their community.

He also added there were no ticket quotas being considered, figures included in the proposal were just to give council an idea of the potential revenue generation to offset the cost of the service.

Coun. Joe Watson questioned if the program would eliminate the part-time bylaw position in Picture Butte and on RCMP enforcement in the community.

Derricott said if the regional approach were to move ahead, it would eliminate the bylaw position in Picture Butte.

He also added since the town’s population is less than 5,000 it does not pay directly into the RCMP budget and therefore does not direct how the RCMP handles policing in the town.

He added if peace officers were handling traffic violations it would free up the RCMP to concentrate on investigations and other police enforcement not covered by peace officers.

Picture Butte currently has one-day bylaw coverage each week. Under the proposed regional community peace officer project, the town would receive daily patrols.

“I like that model,” said Derricott.

“Picture Butte is very supportive of this initiative.”

He indicated there are also plans to apply for grant funding to assist with the start-up costs for the regional project.

Picture Butte currently pays about $20,000 a year for bylaw enforcement.

Under the Coaldale proposal that cost would double but there would be increased coverage for the community and revenue generation.

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