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Mayor pleased solicitor general supports college

A police college in Fort Macleod is part of Alberta’s new law enforcement framework.
Fort Macleod Mayor Shawn Patience welcomed the news last week the police college is part of the plan outlined Dec. 14 by Solicitor General Frank Oberle.
“We have seen it in solicitor general plans before, but at least it’s back after being absent last year from the solicitor general’s plans,” Patience said.
Patience said the Commonwealth Group hired by town council continues to work on developing a co-op model for a private-public partnership to build the college.
According to the new law enforcement framework, “a police and peace officer training centre in Fort Macleod, which will play a critical role in ensuring consistent, state-of-the-art recruit training and on-going professional development for all police and peace officers in Alberta.”
“It will support the framework’s call for law enforcement to be guided and assessed using clear, strong standards and performance indicators.”
In a news conference Dec. 14 Oberle said it is time Alberta updated a policing model that has been in place since the 1930s.
“It has not kept pace with recent societal changes,” Oberle said.
Oberle said technological advances, more complex crimes, an increasing administrative burden and limited resources meant it was time for a new framework.
Oberle said the new framework focuses on community flexibility to address local policing needs more effectively and efficiently.
“Community policing is at the heart of effective law enforcement,” Oberle said.
The framework will also ensure law enforcement across the province is more co-ordinated, intelligence-led and accountable to Albertans.
The new framework is supported by the following initiatives:

  • The Alberta Police Integrated Information Initiative, which allows greater collaboration and intelligence-sharing among law enforcement.
  • The Police Amendment Act, which ensures Albertans who allege police misconduct, and the police members involved, will have complaints resolved quickly and efficiently.
  • Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams, which are successful in using an integrated approach to fight gangs and organized crime.
    The government is also working on initiatives that support the framework, including the police college and a new funding model to distribute the costs of local policing.

Liberal justice critic Kent Hehr remains skeptical, saying it will be a miracle if the Treasury Board frees up money to build the police college.
Hehr said in a news release the government is being disingenuous by continuing to insist that the police college will be built, but refusing to provide the money.
“This chicanery has gone on for long enough,” Hehr said. “Either put up or shut up.”
Patience said he understands Hehr’s point of view.
“I am sure there are many others out there sharing Kent’s sentiment,” Patience said. “He’s right, the proof will be in the pudding.”
The province announced in August 2006 the Alberta Police and Peace Officer Training Centre would be built in Fort Macleod to train 1,400 recruits each year.
The police college, which would create 75 to 100 permanent jobs in Fort Macleod, would also be a world-class centre of excellence providing professional development for law enforcement officials from around the world.
The project stalled when the province’s call for a private-public partnership did not attract anyone willing to completely fund the project, estimated to cost more than $200-million.
With the project stalled for close to four years town council hired the Commonwealth Group, a St. Albert-based company experienced in developing P3 partnerships.
Last month Commonwealth officials laid out plans to create a co-op to build and operate the police college.

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