Alix Council hears about RCMP staffing

The Village of Alix council heard a report that its local RCMP detachment is working to fill vacant positions as challenges continue to pop up. The report was made at the July 3 regular meeting of council.

During the committee reports part of the agenda Coun. Ed Cole updated his peers on a June 26 RCMP community group meeting held at the Bashaw RCMP detachment that he attended. Cole noted the detachment continues to seek an officer to fill the vacant corporal slot; it was noted they’re seeking a “lateral” person, meaning non-promotion.

“A corporal in Manitoba, originally from Alberta, is interested in a lateral move,” stated Cole’s report. “Some delay as the corporal’s wife is also a (Mountie) and she cannot work at Bashaw, would have to find a neighbouring detachment.” Cole, who is a retired RCMP officer, explained policy precludes married Mounties working at the same detachment if one has authority over the other.

Cole’s report noted Bashaw constables are handling the corporal work until an officer is found.

It was stated Bashaw detachment is expecting a cadet from the RCMP training depot in August and September.

One constable at the Bashaw detachment is overdue for a transfer. “However, not releasable until a replacement is in place,” stated Cole’s report to council. He added that there is a constable with three to five years experience who is interested in joining the Bashaw detachment and that’s being investigated.

Cole stated RCMP officers aren’t immune to housing challenges when moving for new jobs. “The problem with staffing is the residence requirement,” stated Cole’s report. “Members must reside with 50 kms of (their detachment). Several experienced members are more than willing to (join) Bashaw but reside just a few kms outside the 50 kms.

“Sgt. Cleveland is working to have the residence requirement extended to 60 kms.” Cole added, though, such a change could affect detachments across Alberta.

Cole noted that Bashaw’s commander reminded the community Mounties in red serge are available for ceremonies and special events if the detachment is given some notice ahead of time.

Social media problems
Cole reported Bashaw RCMP detachment would like to have its own Facebook page but has been running into trouble with Meta, the corporate owner of the social media outlet.

Apparently, Meta says the Bashaw RCMP detachment is a business and should be billed as such. Cole noted efforts are underway to convince Meta a police department isn’t a for-profit business.

Maintenance money
Mayor Rob Fehr, reporting on a recent Lacombe Foundation meeting he attended, reported there is a big discrepancy between what seniors lodge operators need for building maintenance and what the provincial government feels is appropriate. “Province feels less money is needed than what the foundation has asked for,” stated the mayor’s report.

Children’s advocacy
Fehr also reported on the new Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre in Red Deer. “(As part of the Central Alberta Mayor’s Caucus) participated in a tour of the new centre in the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence at RDP,” stated the mayor’s memo.

“This centre will open in late July or early August and cost $30 million to build. The bulk of the cost was paid for by numerous sponsors and individual donations. Mortgage is about $3 million but will likely be paid off in the next couple years and once that is done $700,000 per year will go right back into the centre for programming.”

Social problems
Fehr noted the mayors also discussed serious social issues facing their central Alberta communities. “Discussed human trafficking, homelessness and drug use issues in Red Deer and surrounding communities,” stated Fehr. “This is an issue that the group feels the Government of Alberta needs to focus on more. As Red Deer is the hub, they get many people coming into the city looking for services smaller communities simply don’t have.

“The city agrees a treatment centre and shelter is needed but getting the required funding and a physical site is presenting a challenge. Mayors agreed to do support letters and the city will draft a formal letter and submit to (the province).”

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.