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New police agency to enhance collaboration, not replace RCMP: Hunter

Posted on April 11, 2024 by Sunny South News

By Trevor Busch
Southern Alberta Newspapers

Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter says new legislation advancing the current status of the province’s sheriff service will enhance the jurisdiction of the force so it can work collaboratively with other agencies, but is not intended as a replacement for the RCMP. 

“We already have a provincial police force, it’s called the (Alberta) Sheriffs. And so this is not really a police force, all we’re doing is we’re entering this legislation, we’re allowing the sheriffs to have the same kind of training as what RCMP would get,” said Hunter. “So this allows them that sort of thing, allows them to be able to work with the RCMP and city police. In terms of being able to address crime, we have some issues with crime that we’re trying to deal with in this province. And so this provides that parity of esteem with our sheriffs because right now, what’s happening is as long as it’s something that’s happening on the highways, sheriffs have jurisdiction, but they don’t have any jurisdiction elsewhere. So this law allows the sheriffs to be able to do what RCMP and other police forces are doing in the province. And that’s really what that’s all about. It’s not about a new police force, (we’re) very happy with the sheriffs.”

In a recent announcement from Public Safety Minister Mike Ellis, it was confirmed the new police “agency” would be independent, subject to civilian oversight, and would work alongside other police forces in the province, both federal and municipal.

“I would say not so much about enforcement, and more about collaboration,” said Hunter. “So it allows that, to be able to work alongside with RCMP and investigations. If they go into RCMP jurisdiction, they have the ability to perform their roles and responsibilities. So that’s really what it’s more about.”

Hunter also highlighted recent budget investments that will be putting more boots on the ground in Alberta communities.

“One thing in the budget, important to know that they are adding more police officers to the mix, which is important. We cannot protect our people. That’s the first primary role of government. And that’s the reason why governments were first established, to protect people. And so we want to make sure we do that properly. We can be protected. People will invest, people will go out, they will enjoy themselves, they will feel comfortable with their kids going out. And so that’s very exciting to see that. That’s a big theme, big part of this budget.”

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