Police Chief Rod Knecht is asking city council for an additional 25 positions, at a cost of $4.3 million, to increase the number of officers in the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) so it can handle the annexation of thousands of hectares of land from Leduc County.
A report released on Thursday, which will be debated by council’s community services committee, said 20 officers are needed for the two growing divisions in southeast and southwest Edmonton to maintain current response times. Another three members are needed to handle growing tactical needs and two more are necessary to help patrol Highway 19.
Watch below: On June 30, 2017, Vinesh Pratap filed this report after a deal was made for Edmonton to annex thousands of hectares of land from Leduc County.
The report said “this does not include the area currently occupied by Beaumont,” which the city is also trying to annex.
Coun. Tim Cartmell said residents in Ward 9, who live south of Anthony Henday Drive, see crime as a problem because the neighbourhoods are still in the development stage and most who live there commute to work.
“The neighbourhoods are empty. No one’s there,” he said. “So in the day, there’s a lot more break and enters, a lot more theft from cars — a lot more of that kind of stuff — simply because there’s nobody around, there’s no eyes on people.”
The report also said anything less in the annexed area would create a “two-tiered” delivery system.
“Maybe a different model for that area for the time being is perfectly adequate,” Cartmell said. “So those are the questions and the discussions we have to ask and answer.”
He wondered if the whole resource question for the entire city needs to be examined.
“Do we have the right resources doing the right thing and the right time all the way across? Is there a different model that uses sheriffs or uses peace officers in places where you don’t necessarily need constables? Are we using constables where some of those other resources might fit? Or vice versa. Are we matching the capacity and capability of each of these roles properly to the role that we’re asking them to do?”
Coun. Scott McKeen, who is a police commission member, said the request is coming in now because the EPS will have to factor in training time.
“There’s a delay in having the annexation approved and yet the police need to get a recruit class up and running and ready to go,” he said.
The report also said other costs, totalling $800,000, could be absorbed by the existing EPS budget.
You can read the report on the annexation’s impact on EPS below.