The Alberta Provincial Government hosted the second of their The Future Of Alberta Policing webinar series.
The series aims to cover various aspects of the potential transition in detail, as well as answer questions from Albertans.
This latest entry featured former minister of public security and solicitor general of Alberta Harvey Cenaiko, as well as representatives from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), who carried out the Alberta Provincial Police Service (APPS) transition study.
Following presentations on Alberta's historical law enforcement expansions, including the introduction of Alberta Sherriffs and the Alberta Integrated Child Exploitation Unit, as well as a deeper look at the study from PWC, presenters answered a few submitted questions.
PWC consultant and Operating Model Design Lead for the transition study Josh Oviatt addressed concerns over response times for rural communities.
He says the number of officers in a given detachment would be bolstered, and proposed Service Hubs would provide support to nearby detachments.
"That minimum number of sworn officers, by itself, should have a significant impact on the ability of some of those smaller rural and remote communities to be responsive. We know that calls for service take officers out of those communities for extended periods of time, that's just the nature of rural policing. Providing that minimum level of resources is one aspect. That additional coverage from nearby services hubs for our community detachments is an important other one. So when that happens, if that happens, they're able to be supplemented, that service is able to be complimented."
Cenaiko fielded a question about the role community peace officer programs would play after an APPS transition.
"They do have a role to play within their community, they're provided with municipal legislation that allowed them to do certain functions and enforce certain functions in the municipality, so I think they're going to be in plAce no matter what. I think what would help a lot of the community officers throughout the province and in smaller centres would be a good connect between the APPS and those community peace officers. There's a disconnect right now, I know there's a disconnect between the RCMP and community peace officers. I've heard of some serious incidents where community peace officers were being advised of a serious issue going on and they drive right by the scene of something that could've been more tragic than it was."
Oviatt also answered a question regarding whether or not current RCMP officers would be able to transition to the APPS.
"Everyone recognizes that there are great members of the RCMP in Alberta. Having that type of knowledge of the province and communities is important. I think there would be pretty open arms for those members who would like to badge over and be a part of an Alberta Provincial Police to do so, and I think it would be to the benefit of all Albertans if they did."
The full webinar isn't yet available to view on their website as of yet, though it will be viewable on the Future of AB Policing website.
Future webinars are planned for October 3 and 5, with registration required for those wanting to attend and submit questions.