Occasionally I get resident and non-resident inquiries about the RCMP. Recently, it occurred to me that not everyone understands the City’s relationship with our policing body. Under the Municipal Government Act, any community over 5000 people is required to have a dedicated police presence. Municipalities often contract those services through the Provincial Government who uses the RCMP and they eventually build their own RCMP detachment to meet residents’ needs. In Chestermere, 17 RCMP members serve approximately 20,000 residents.
We aren’t required to use the RCMP. We could start our own police force and create something that mirrors bigger cities like Calgary (no other community in our region except Calgary has its own force). For Chestermere, we have found that accessing the RCMP’s different branches and services offers greater coverage for a variety of different crime issues. The RCMP has allowed us to access the region’s boat, the special crimes units, including the ALERT team for drug issues, and divers from the aquatic team.
Every year the City reviews our community’s protective services needs and determines the budget required to serve residents appropriately and keep Chestermere safe. While we continue to be a very safe community, we have had years with higher crime rates in areas such as construction sites and new home break-ins, car break-ins and thefts, and grow-ops. The detachment also provides us with their requests, projections, and community priorities before our budget deliberations. All of these factors support the City’s decision to request additional officers or not.
As the RCMP is a contractor to the City, we don’t have authority over its personnel; we don’t buy its cruisers, and we can’t overturn tickets because they are written with Provincial authority. Neither I, as Mayor, nor any other member of Council, can investigate or discipline RCMP members. That is done by the Detachment Commander or if necessary, K Division of the RCMP Provincially.
Our current Detachment Commander, Staff Sergeant Mark Wielgosz does provide Council with regular updates that are published in the Council Agenda and he is open to conversations with the public. On November 7, he reported on, among other topics, the reduction of incidents in the parks, boat patrol results, check stops, vehicle checks, and residential surveillance. He is the go-to guy for any concerns about tickets or potential crime occurring in our neighbourhoods.
While we all have a role to play in helping to keep Chestermere safe, the RCMP supports us in keeping crime rates low, resolving crime-related issues, and addressing your concerns. For more information on the RCMP, please visit the City’s website or go to the RCMP’s Chestermere Detachment page.
Patricia Matthews, Mayor
City of Chestermere