Work is progressing rapidly on the $100-million Police and Peace Officer Training Centre in Fort Macleod.
Mayor Shawn Patience and Coun. Christine Trowbridge attended the first meeting of the steering committee earlier this month.
“I was very impressed and surprised to see the amount of work they have done on this, especially on the curriculum,” Mayor Shawn Patience said. “They are a long way from completing it, but they have done an awful lot of work.”
Solicitor General Harvey Cenaiko announced Aug. 30 the centre where 1,000 police and 500 peace officer recruits will be trained each year will be built in Fort Macleod.
Two Alberta Infrastructure staff members have been appointed to work on the design, and other work is ongoing.
“They’re moving forward,” Patience said.
Construction of the centre, which is expected to create 75 to 100 full-time jobs in Fort Macleod, will begin early in 2008.
Construction will take about 20 months.
Police chiefs from around the province along with representatives from Advanced Education and Alberta Infrastructure were at the Nov. 8 meeting.
“They brought everybody into the fold,” Patience said. “It was important from my perspective that Fort Macleod was sitting there.”
The 19 people at the meeting in Edmonton reviewed the project’s background, progress and schedule.
“They are setting this up so they meet the needs of everyone in the province,” Patience said of plans for the training centre.
There was also discussion on governance of the college, resources, distance learning opportunities and the community’s connection with the college.
“It is now time we bring the police college task force together, or change it to become a liaison committee,” Patience said of the group of volunteers who prepared Fort Macleod’s bid for the college.
The community will be asked to indicate in detail what services it can provide to the college, the staff and the recruits.
In turn, the community will be asked what services the college can provide to the community.
“How can the community benefit from this facility?” Patience said. “How can the facility benefit from the community?”
The government will later ask post-secondary institutions to propose a fully-developed curriculum for the college.
The Justice department is now working with police commissions in Alberta to define their training budgets for 2009-’10, when the first recruits are expected in Fort Macleod.
Patience and Trowbridge said Fort Macleod can’t waste any time in getting involved in the facility’s development.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity,” Patience said. “It’s going to take a lot of foresight and thought on our part.”