Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Government cancels funding for Fort Macleod police training college
“This was an extremely tough decision,” said Jonathan Denis, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General. “But in the end, Albertans expect their tax dollars to be invested wisely and the government is committed to this goal.”
This decision is expected to come as a blow to the community of Fort Macleod, where the training centre was planned to cover 340 acres adjacent to Highway 2 southbound, donated by the Town of Fort Macleod, with a total project budget of $122 million, according to the Fort Macleod Gazette (link). Construction was supposed to begin this summer.
Alberta Government press release (excerpted):
Police agencies across the province were asked to provide feedback on their expected use of the Fort Macleod facility after concerns about utilization were raised to the ministry. According to the Government press release, input provided sufficient evidence that one stand-alone facility would not be utilized to a point that it would be financially viable.
The feedback received from police indicated that larger police forces were confident in their existing training facilities that have provided exceptional police training to date. Training at existing facilities would also create less strain in smaller communities as departments would not need to send active officers to a remote location for extended periods of time.
“I believe strongly that the Alberta Government has made the right decision, both as Chief of the Calgary Police Service and as a taxpayer,” said Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson.
“Our cadet training is done in Regina, so we will not require any facilities or training in that regard,” said Dale McGowan, Commanding Officer of RCMP K Division. “Any specialized training needs are being met now at our existing facilities or at various locations throughout Canada.”
“The quality of training for Edmonton police will be maintained through our current facilities and programs, including a new facility recently approved for north Edmonton,” said Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht.
Alberta’s Solicitor General remains committed to implementing standardized training for police and peace officers across the province, which includes a common set of standards and delivery, an approved competency framework and an evidence-based curriculum.
"My priority is to ensure police and peace officers have the skills they need to keep our communities safe and secure,” said Denis. “I am confident this will continue to be accomplished through the development and standardization of training standards and curriculum.”
Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Stier speaks out against decision to quash Fort Macleod Police College