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Concerns raised in Bow Island over provincial police advisory board

Posted on February 1, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

By Anna Smith

As part of their normal January 22 Council meeting, the Town of Bow Island received a survey from the province in regards to improving police governance.

The survey, aimed at communities that fall under the Provincial Police Service Agreement (PPSA), aimed to weigh the needs for those who would be served by a newly-created  Provincial Police Advisory Board, which small communities such as Bow Island would fall under due to their population.

Mayor Gordon Reynolds noted that the “proposal that Alberta Municipalities and RMA made jointly on that issue was that there should still be local advisory boards. There would be an overall board, and the situation the two associations are in is that the government just won’t even engage them.”

He expressed some uncertainty as to where this may be headed as a result.

Concerns were expressed by council as to what powers this advisory board would have, as well as how members would be decided.

“This whole idea came out of the initiative with the two associations but together they were calling for an advisory board for the communities that don’t have their own police force,” said Reynolds. “I’m not sure if that’s really what they’re looking at, but it’s really the only positive responses that are given to the work that our associations did.”

The notion of creating their own liaison organization was briefly discussed as a means to be better heard by the police, as they cannot necessarily create their own advisory board, with the sentiment that this work should be done on more of a local level being shared among council.

With the idea that local RCMP is more connected with their Municipal Council, as the Bow Island detachment has been making strides towards, it was expressed there would be no need for an overarching board, though Reynolds remarked that an overarching umbrella board may still be helpful, just not as the endpoint of that connection.

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