On March 7, 2023, after a years-long assessment of the local police service, Grande Prairie City Council approved the establishment of a municipal police service for Grande Prairie.
Right up to the day of the vote, Mayor and City Council were careful to ensure they were making the right decision for Grande Prairie. Assessments included conversations across Canada, a review of existing policing models that included in-person visits to select municipalities, a robust public consultation initiative, and the creation of two deeply researched reports.
Municipal Police Service Review
Completed in September 2022, this 112-page report outlines and reviews a multitude of policing factors and concludes with a recommendation. Items covered: Policing in Canada and Alberta, legislation, governance, agreements, and policing in Grande Prairie. The report also analyzes finances, strategy, and policing delivery options.
The City of Grande Prairie Policing Transition
As a follow-up to the Municipal Police Service Review, accounting firm MNP was engaged to create The City of Grande Prairie Policing Transition report. This 104+ page report was completed on February 14, 2023, and details the transition plan to a municipal police service for Grande Prairie specifically.
Importantly, this report was published before the decision to continue forward with a municipal police service, and was used as one of many decision-making tools.
In this report, readers will find information on background, environmental scans, current state (at time of writing), community engagement, legal and regulatory requirements, strategy, and more. There are answers to many questions within this document including queries around finances, timelines, training, and recruitment.
It’s been nearly 70 years since a new municipal police service been stood up in Alberta; the last one was in Camrose in 1956. The City of Grande Prairie is intent on providing proof to other municipalities that, when done with diligence, it is possible to be successful in creating a police service built to meet an individual community’s needs. Many eyes are on northern Alberta as this transition moves forward—and Grande Prairie is up to the challenge.
Since City Council’s historical vote to move ahead with a new municipal police service on May 7, 2023, the City of Grande Prairie has been working with both the Provincial and Federal governments, the RCMP, and various regulatory bodies to ensure full compliance.
A few milestones that the City of Grande Prairie has achieved:
- Received approval from the Minister to change policing models and form a municipal police service
- Passed a bylaw to create the Grande Prairie Police Commission; the Commission was then established in April 2023
- Notified the Government of Canada of the City’s intent to transition away from the RCMP as per the Municipal Police Service Agreement
Looking ahead, building a police service from the ground up creates opportunity for innovation in policing, particularly around modern policing and enhanced community benefits specific to the needs of Grande Prairie residents and business owners