New agreement calls on the RCMP and Town of Didsbury to engage in multi-year, long-term financial planning and reporting for the service and division administration

DIDSBURY – Council has reviewed and accepted in principle the new multi-year financial plan of the Didsbury RCMP detachment for 2024-2029, which calls for an additional officer in 2024-2025.

The approval came during the recent regularly scheduled council meeting, with Didsbury RCMP detachment commander Steve Browne presenting the plan to council.

The Town of Didsbury has a service contract with the RCMP detachment. The plan was prepared by the RCMP in consultation with the Operations Service Branch of Alberta RCMP and the Town of Didsbury as per the municipal police service agreement.

The agreement calls on the parties to engage in multi-year, long-term financial planning and reporting for the service and division administration.

“This process ensures the contract partners discuss future resource requirements, potential increased in financial accountability and improve transparency,” he said. “The financial planning and forecasting process is critical to ensuring adequate funding is available resource and equipment to support public and officer safety. 

“It also provides the contact partners with essential information so they can mutually identify opportunities for cost-containment and strengthened financial efficiency, when and were applicable.”

The plan includes details of human resources such as the current number of officer positions, as well as additional positions required over the five-year period.

It also deals with accommodation costs, equipment plans (operation, technology and fleet), and financial summary and projections.

The cost sharing agreement calls for the municipality to pay 70 per cent of costs and the federal government 30 per cent. 

“Providing and maintaining the service each final year includes operating and maintenance costs such as salaries, benefits and indirect costs, transportation and equipment, professional services, repairs, utilities, supplies and miscellaneous operational expenses.” 

Part of the plan deals with upcoming recommendations from the mass casualty commission following the 2020 shootings in Nova Scotia that claimed 22 people.

“The Alberta RCMP anticipate that we will be developing action plans to address the findings and recommendations. Further detail will be provided when they become available, but it is anticipated that requirements including additional or modifications to policing equipment, air services, vehicles, training, etc., may be part of that action plan.” 

Regarding anticipated increases to resources over the next five years, the plan projects the addition of one regular member in 2024-2025 at a cost of $163,054 and one public service employee in 2026-2027 at a cost of $60,000.

“The addition (of the regular member) would allow the detachment to focus on working in and with the schools, supporting complex students and their social issues unique to school settings.

“The enhanced presence would also provide greater opportunity for vulnerable youth to speak with a police officer regarding violence or abuse at home.”

The officer would also be able to provide educational presentations on such things as bullying prevention, drug and alcohol abuse, impaired driving, the dangers of fentanyl, sexting, traffic safety for teens, and unhealthy relationships and dating violence, councillors heard.

Equipment modernization proposed over the next five years includes portable ballistic shields, new breaching equipment, hard body armour, long gun rifles, and extended range impact weapons, body worn cameras, and updated pistols.

The complete multi-year plan is available for viewing on the Town of Didsbury website.

Council passed a motion accepting the plan in principle, with all council members present at the recent council meeting.


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