BOWDEN — Mayor Robb Stuart says town representatives will likely bring up a sore point – escalating policing costs – when they attend the Alberta Municipalities convention late next month.
In an email, Rudy Friesen, the town’s chief administrative officer noted that several years ago the provincial government asked municipalities to share policing costs via a phased-in plan.
As per that plan, those fees have steadily risen. This year, the figure for Bowden is $45,000.
During an interview with the Albertan, Stuart questioned what return Bowden is getting for paying that rising tab.
“We really haven't seen any change in our coverage. And other communities are saying the same thing,” he said.
“Like, what's the province doing with that money if they're not putting it into RCMP enforcement, right?”
On the other hand though, Stuart said overall, he continues to be pretty happy with the policing response Bowden receives from Olds RCMP, despite the fact that some town residents believe it’s far too slow.
Stuart said they’re in Bowden “a lot,” given the fact the detachment covers a wide area, well across Highway 2.
“For the number of manpower that's available to Bowden, I think they do a good job,” Stuart said. “They’re at the school, fairly often, they come through town.”
RCMP and the town have had a good working relationship over the years, he said.
“I think there's been five staff sergeants here since I've been the mayor, and they've all been really good to work with,” he said. “They're open.
"And, you know, Bowden's kind of the small kid in the block, so I think they do what they can for us, but there's other people complaining all the time about ‘why aren't you in my community?’
"And the rural residents, of course, have a big say and rightly so, right there. But really there's so little manpower to cover that.”
Stuart thinks the opportunity to report crime online is another good option for residents.
That link can be found at https://ocre-sielc.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/alberta/en