Police presence has been increased in the Foothills.
Foothills County partnered with RCMP to deliver a new enhanced rural policing model, which began as a pilot program in July and is now being adopted as a Rural Policing Plan.
The plan involves an amalgamation of resources from the Turner Valley, High River and Okotoks RCMP detachments to form a singular rural policing unit responsible for patrolling the County with 24-hour police service available in the municipality.
“This new policing approach aims to bring increased RCMP presence and improve service levels to Foothills County,” said County Reeve Suzanne Oel.
She said the plan came as a result of feedback from residents who called on the Province to help fight rural crime at all levels of government. In response, the RCMP district of southern Alberta began examining ways to provide services to rural areas.
The Foothills policing model is comprised of 17 constables, three corporals, one sergeant and one staff sergeant, as well as the assistance of Foothills Patrol’s peace officers as needed.
Additional policing doesn’t come for free, and has been an added line item in the County’s budget. In 2021 the amount will be $999,660 with the total requisition reaching close to $2 million by 2023.
It’s money well-spent as far as County council is concerned.
“This custom deployment ensures these funds are working locally, specific to our county, and based on crime trends and logistical requirements,” said Oel.
She said it’s important to note the policing plan does not detract from urban policing, but instead creates additional resources to serve the rural community.
The County looks forward to continuing its joint enforcement work between the new RCMP resources and municipal peace officers at it works to fight rural crime, she said.
“With the staffing up and co-ordination, we’re looking at improved results,” said Oel. “We want to continue to help residents with fighting rural crime and we’re looking to watch for results from our Foothills County Rural Policing Plan.”