“Subsequent to a meeting town council had with representatives of the RCMP’s ‘K’ Division, while attending the annual Alberta Urban Municipalities Association convention last week, I am pleased to advise we are in receipt of a letter dated Sept. 26 from Deputy Commissioner, Commanding Officer for ‘K’ Division, Marianne Ryan,” said Mayor Kim Craig, in a recent media release.
The letter stated the RCMP are preparing to identify suitable candidates to be interviewed for the position of “Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Coaldale Detachment” or commonly known as, detachment commander, which is the position of police chief. This is in preparation for commencement of policing by the RCMP in Coaldale, as of January 1, 2016.
Additionally, Craig said the Commanding Officer has advised the town work is currently underway to secure land in Coaldale to build a regional facility, which will be comprised of Coaldale municipal and provincial detachment personnel, the Integrated Traffic Unit, a Police Service Dog unit, a Forensics unit and other specialized resources.
The hope is this building project will be complete in 2018 to accommodate the RCMP resources, which are currently located in Lethbridge.
“It’s very exciting,” the mayor said of the confirmation letter.
“We’re going to have a significant building in Coaldale, which will not only create a policing hub in town but lead to economic spinoffs.”
The Town of Coaldale has committed to seven full-time officers and two clerical staff to operate within the new Coaldale detachment, as the town’s municipal police service.
This is in addition to staff assigned to the detachment in the various other regional-based services such as traffic, the service dog unit and forensics.
“We’re excited about the added regional presence of the RCMP,” said Craig.
“We appreciate the confidence that you have shown in us by selecting the RCMP to provide policing services to the community of Coaldale,” said Deputy Commissioner Ryan in the letter to the mayor.
“We look forward to a strong partnership, which will demonstrate that your confidence is well placed.”
The RCMP will work out of a storefront in Coaldale as of Jan. 1, 2016 until the new regional detachment is built, with an estimated opening of 2018.
This will allow officers to provide an effective level of service until such time as the new detachment is operational.
Mayor Craig said Coaldale residents may begin to see an increase in RCMP presence in the town during the transitional phase over the next 12 to 15 months.
RCMP already have a co-operative working relationship with the Lethbridge Regional Police Service (LRPS) and anticipate a smooth transition from LRPS to the RCMP for Coaldale’s policing.
“We have confirmation the commanding officer of ‘K’ Division is working closely with the LRPS in the transition,” said Craig.
“I look forward to continuing to work together to ensure a smooth transition to the RCMP delivery of your policing services,” said Inspector Glenn De Goeij, acting officer in charge of corporate and client services branch.
As the town continues to negotiate the final municipal police service agreement with Public Safety Canada, the mayor anticipates a positive impact on the town’s operational budget in future years.
Mayor Craig said in addition to that cost-savings the town will also see an increase in police presence, benefit from having a regional detachment in Coaldale and service provided by a force with a long history of community policing.