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Provincial police force puts 'pile of things at risk': RCMP union tells Okotoks

National Police Federation says provincial police force will cost more and give Albertans less
The Keep Alberta RCMP engagement tour was in Okotoks on Jan. 17. The presentation focused on why the province should not transition to a provincial police force.

The National Police Federation is staunch in its distaste for the proposed provincial police force and is in the midst of a provincewide tour to prove its point. 

The Keep Alberta RCMP campaign took over the Elks Community Hall in Okotoks on Tuesday, Jan. 18, in the tour's first stop in Southern Alberta. 

"People are interested in this proposal. They are interested and they're concerned because they know — or they are starting to learn anyway, if they weren't fully aware before — that there is a pile of things at risk," said Kevin Halwa, Prairie and North Region director with the National Police Federation (NPF). 

The NPF is a labour-relations organization that has represented approximately 20,000 serving members nationally and internationally since 2019, according to their website.

The group has been active in its opposition to the proposed provincial police model.

As told by the NPF, the Keep Alberta RCMP Community Engagement Tour was launched to present information and give Albertans an opportunity to learn, ask questions and advocate for their own interests. They say that a transition to a provincial police force will see Albertans pay may for decreased service levels and that enough information hasn't been provided for the switch to be justified. 

"Time and time again, people are left with more questions than answers and that's a result of the PwC (PricewaterhouseCooper) report leaving more questions than answers," said Halwa. 

In 2020, the Fair Deal Panel recommended that the Government of Alberta move toward a provincial police force. In October of that year, the province hired PwC to procure a report outlining costs and feasibility of the transition. 

The report, titled APPS Transition Study, was released in 2021 by the government.

According to the province, the report "found the concept was realistic, cost-effective and worth further study." 

The NPF said that is not the case. 

During the Jan. 18 presentation, the NPF outlined a comparison between the current RCMP model and two different proposed models.

According to their numbers, the current model has 5,055 total staff, including 3,097 fully trained RCMP members and other employees for a total of $595 million, which includes costs associated with the wage increase.

Model A of the provincial plan outlines 4,945 employees including 1,613 fully trained police officers and 1,540 sheriffs and non-emergency personnel for a total of $734 million.

The transition to Model A would cost $366 million. Model B projects 3,153 fully trained police officers and 1,036 public service employees for a cost of $759 million and a transition cost of $371.5 million. 

Government officials held engagement meetings at the end of last year and more are planned for the coming weeks. A public survey is also expected to be launched early this year. 

NPF presenters encouraged attendees to express their concerns during these upcoming opportunities and even provided a list of "critically important questions" that they feel still need answers. 

According to a Pollara Strategic Insights poll conducted by NPF in November 2021, 80 per cent of Albertans said they are satisfied with the service they receive from the RCMP.

In the same poll, responses gathered from 1,300 rural and urban communities via phone and online said that only nine per cent of people support replacing the RCMP, while 92 per cent said they want more details. 

There is room for improvement within the RCMP, Halwa said. But matters surrounding mental-health treatment, the opioid crisis and addiction, as well as the court system all warrant consideration to improve crime rates in the province. 

"People are supportive of the RCMP and they realize that it's not just a policing problem, it's a whole bigger picture and policing is just one piece of the puzzle to solve the overall crime problem," Halwa said. 

About two-dozen people attended the presentation in Okotoks, which had a limited capacity as outlined by COVID-19 restrictions. Okotoks Mayor Tanya Thorn, Coun. Rachel Swenseid, Coun. Brent Robinson, Foothills County CAO Ryan Payne and Highwood MLA RJ Sigurdson were all present.

In-person information sessions are scheduled across Alberta until March, with two virtual sessions in January and two in February. For more information, or to register visit

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