The downtown core will see an influx in policing after Council reallocated funds at the mid-year budget on Wednesday. As part of the resolution, The Downtown Unit will add three new members, one RCMP and two Community Peace Officers with enhanced authority. With these additions the Downtown Unit will have doubled, from four to eight in the last year.
“We are continually looking for ways to enhance community safety through enforcement, prevention, intervention and education,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “The addition of officers to the newly formed Downtown Unit will substantially enhance the integrated policing presence in the downtown core, an area which is a primary focus in the Annual Policing Plan as a result of community concerns.”
The two new Community Peace Officers are proposed to have the enhanced authority related to mischief and theft under $5000 which are Criminal Code related offences. This enhanced authority is a first for Community Peace Officers in Red Deer. Dedicating eight officers to the downtown will help increase police visibility improving perceptions of safety in the downtown, help improve relationships between social agencies and people, and result in a decrease in property crime and criminal activity.
“The funds being reallocated were originally budgeted to fund current RCMP officer’s overtime to focus on the downtown,” said Paul Goranson, Director of Protective Services. “Adding additional resources rather than overextending our officers is a more efficient use of people and optimizes our policing budget.”
Other resolutions made by Council include:
- an increase in user fees for Setters Place at Great Chief Park to align with the Council Fees and Charges Policy. The increases will be phased in over three years, beginning May 2020, providing community sport groups time to plan and adjust their programming accordingly. Public skating will continue to be offered at Setters Place with admission rates aligning with other arena public skating opportunities.
- a change in scope for approved capital dollars to allow the Red Deer Public Library to conduct a full HVAC assessment. The $45,000 was approved by Council for capital improvements at the downtown branch. The work will need to be completed in 2020.
- First reading was passed to increase the budget to complete Phase 2 of the Central Park Water Distribution System Project following the completion of detailed design while accounting for inflation. Council agreed to fund the additional $682,200 through debt. If the amended budget and bylaw is approved by Council, administration will meet with Central Park residents to discuss the next steps including repayment, design requirements and construction plans. For more information on this project, see attached Q&A (pdf) .
For more information, please contact:
Mayor Tara Veer
The City of Red Deer