The provincial government is investing nearly $2 million in targeted police initiatives for the Prince Albert community.
Nine Saskatchewan communities are receiving a total of $13.6 million for the continuation of targeted policing initiatives -- part of a $14.7 million commitment that also includes support for aboriginal policing and recruitment, police and community boards and provincial and national police chief associations.
Prince Albert’s share amounts to $1,995,000, which will go largely towards units focused on gangs, drugs and Internet child exploitation.
The allocation of funding towards each city is based in part upon input from police associations and members on current priorities and partly on different crime indexes for each area.
“It kind of goes on what the overall crime necessity was,” Prince Albert Carlton-MLA Darryl Hickie said.
“For Prince Albert, we put two child exploitation unit officers into Prince Albert when really, there was a need to look at the north. So that was important. They could have been just deployed in Saskatoon and Regina, but there was a need to put them in Prince Albert to help handle the northern issues as well.”
Another portion of the funding will go towards joint force operations between local police and the RCMP, who often co-operate on anti-drug and anti-gang initiatives.
We have a great strong economy, but we also have to be sure that the people in this province are protected and we don’t see criminal elements coming into the province or thriving in this kind of environment either. MLA Darryl Hickie
“That’s the kind of combined forces strategy we have to share resources and be able to manage the region of Prince Albert, not just Prince Albert alone -- because crime is happening (all) around us, not just in Prince Albert,” Hickie said.
Provincial government funding for targeted police initiatives has increased by 118 per cent since 2007.
The bulk of grants have gone towards the support of 125 officers in communities across the province, with the latest funding helping to support 19 police officers in Prince Albert.
Hickie noted the broader context of the provincial economy in regards to increased police funding.
“We do recognize that as the province grows, we’re going to have to tackle those issues that come with growth,” he said.
“We have a great strong economy, but we also have to be sure that the people in this province are protected and we don’t see criminal elements coming into the province or thriving in this kind of environment either. So that’s why we support these initiatives in the police forces across this province.”