Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

L’Alberta lays the foundations for a new provincial police force

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“The role of sheriffs has gradually changed over the years,” explains Mike Ellis.

  • Emmanuel Prince-Thauvette (Consult the profile)Emmanuel Prince-Thauvette

Voice synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, allows to generate spoken text from written text.

The Alberta government has tabled a bill creating a new police force who will be called upon to assume certain responsibilities of the sheriffs.

Public Safety Minister Mike Ellis, however, is adamant: This law does not create a provincial police service to replace the RCMP. Such a proposal was put forward a few years ago by Jason Kenney's government, before Danielle Smith backed down on the issue last summer.

Currently, sheriffs have a variety of responsibilities: providing security at courthouses and the Alberta Legislative Assembly, patrolling the province's highways and conducting surveillance.

Sheriffs currently have the legal status of peace officers, whose responsibilities are more limited than those of police officers, such as those of the RCMP or municipal or indigenous police forces.< /p>

The role of sheriffs has gradually changed over the years, explains Mike Ellis. He affirms that the role of the law is to ensure that the police tasks that the sheriffs have been carrying out for some time are subject to the same legislative framework as those carried out by the police services of the province.

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Recently, the province asked sheriffs to patrol the streets of downtown Edmonton and Calgary, facing a surge in insecurity and of homelessness in the heart of its two largest cities.

Mike Ellis also explains that the Alberta RCMP lacks resources in the province and that this new provincial police force could meet the needs of certain communities.

Some municipalities told me that they were interested in having sheriffs as a police force, adds Mike Ellis.

A new independent body composed of nine members, which is similar to a police commission, will also be set up by the provincial government to supervise the activities of this new police force.

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Minister Mike Ellis maintains that this new police force is not intended to replace the Alberta RCMP.

Minister Mike Ellis did not, however, quantify the cost of this new police force, nor present a timetable for its implementation.< /p>

There are also no budgetary provisions for the creation of such a police force in the provincial budget tabled last month.

The province has not specified how many sheriffs will become police members of this new police force. It is also unknown how many of them will join this new police force and continue to patrol courthouses and government buildings.

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