The Alberta Government will now offer up to $30,000 for municipalities to study a potential transition to a municipal police force.
Government is providing $6 million over two years for Indigenous and Municipal Police Transition Study Grants for an independent study to determine if a local, self-administered police service or a regional policing model would be a better fit for their citizens.
“No one knows a community’s needs better than the people who live there. This funding will empower municipalities to explore different policing models that will improve public safety and address their community’s unique needs,” said Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services Mike Ellis in a press release.
According to a release, the Indigenous and Municipal Police Transition Study Grants were created to assist communities interested in exploring different policing models. The grants will help communities cover the cost of conducting necessary research into local public safety needs, gaps, capital requirements and transition considerations.
So far, the government has received grant applications from 13 communities that are interested in a different policing model to meet their needs. The department is reviewing these applications and working with these and other communities that have expressed interest in applying.
“This funding provides municipalities with an excellent opportunity to study how best to meet their communities’ local and regional policing needs,” said Cathy Heron, president of Alberta Municipalities.
Under Alberta’s Police Act, towns and cities with populations greater than 5,000 are responsible for their own policing.
The Police Act gives municipalities the option of having their own police service, forming a regional policing arrangement or contracting for provincial policing services (i.e., the RCMP under Alberta’s provincial police service agreement).
Under an agreement reached in September 2022, the Siksika Nation will get its own self-administered police service. Siksika developed a business case in 2021 with assistance from a $30,000 provincial government grant.
Grande Prairie city council voted in March to create a municipal police service that will take over local policing from the RCMP.
Over the next two years, Alberta will provide Grande Prairie with a $9.7-million grant to establish a local police service.