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City of Red Deer considering review of current policing model

Red Deer RCMP detachment.
Red Deer RCMP detachment. Kent Morrison, Global News

Red Deer is looking to review its current policing model, which the mayor describes as a hybrid system with RCMP taking the lead in terms of enforcement within the central Alberta city.

The city has put out a request for proposals for an outside review so officials can decide if the city should switch to a different model, like a regional police force.

“I think the review will answer that question,” Mayor Tara Veer said when asked if Red Deer has outgrown the RCMP model. “It’s premature to speculate at this point.

“Right now we do a have a bit of a hybrid force where the RCMP are our primary enforcement service provider, however we do have a very strong municipal component that supports that.”

READ MORE: Crime severity up in Alberta; rural crime also up: Statistics Canada

Veer said the last review of this kind was done more than a decade ago and the city has changed a lot since then.

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“It’s imperative we review and study the issue as much as possible and [respond] to those recommendations, so that we’re making decisions that will protect the safety of Red Deerians,” Veer said, “and that our model responds to the community that we are today, but also that we’re meeting the needs of a growing community.”

WATCH: The man in charge of the RCMP in Red Deer says he’s worried that his officers are overwhelmed. (Jan. 14, 2016)

Crime on the rise in central Alberta
Crime on the rise in central Alberta

Red Deer has reached the 100,000 population threshold, she said, and serves a region of 400,000.

READ MORE: How a Canadian city is dealing with its highest crime levels in over a decade

“Crime and public safety is our citizens’ number one priority,” Veer said. “Council needed to [be[ responsive to the community’s sentiment and concern.”

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“We have, over the past couple of years, made significant efforts, made substantial investment in policing and enforcement in response to our crime rates.

“We’re starting to see those rates taper off. We’re starting to see overall reduction particularly in persons crimes — which are often the more violent crimes — but our property crime is significantly high. We know that our property crime is being driven by the drug trade and trafficking.”

READ MORE: Drugs, cash seized during Red Deer searches; 7 people facing charges

She said the review will look at all types of policing models, then offer recommendations as well as short- and long-term public safety benefits in each model.