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Red Deer RCMP News Release

Today, the Red Deer RCMP Downtown Patrol Unit officially welcomed its two newest police partners to the unit; two Community Peace Officers (CPO) with reinforced functions.

“The addition of these two new CPO resources will strengthen our police presence, improve safety and have a positive impact on the entire downtown area,” said Supt. Holly Glassford.

The pilot project is a joint initiative of the Red Deer RCMP, the City of Red Deer Municipal Police Services and the Government of Alberta. The province has strengthened the powers of CPAs to allow them to investigate certain Criminal Code cases, including thefts under $5,000 and mischief under $5,000.

“In some respects, they will have duties comparable to those of their RCMP counterparts. They will investigate incidents, collect evidence and provide proactive and reactive enforcement of municipal bylaws, provincial statutes and certain criminal codes,” said Peter Puszka, Superintendent of Municipal Police. Both CPAs will also have access to law enforcement tools and databases not typically available to peace officers.

As of 2018, Downtown Red Deer has had a dedicated Downtown Patrol Unit (DPU) focused on improving safety through increased police visibility, proactive law enforcement , reducing property crime and criminal activity, and developing relationships with downtown residents, businesses and social agencies.

“Our downtown unit has done a terrific job with such an important mandate, and it’s really impacting our downtown,” says Supt. Holly Glassford.

In 2021, the DPU conducted 2,219 investigations of which 64% were self-generated cases identified during proactive patrols, and the remaining 36% were in response to calls from the community. This led to 784 arrests, 493 Criminal Code charges, 470 weapons seizures, 37 ounces of illegal drugs seized and 1,061 tickets issued.

In recent RCMP community consultations and surveys, participants indicated that there were still issues with perceptions of downtown safety and that security was a barrier to visiting downtown.

“Council and I are committed to working to improve and revitalize our downtown core,” said Mayor Ken Johnston. “This innovative and one-of-a-kind initiative will increase the sense of safety among those who work, live and enjoy our downtown.”

Dino J. Dotson