The County of Grande Prairie and RCMP are considering partnering in building a new rural detachment in Clairmont, according to county communications.
Currently, Clairmont, Sexsmith, the east county and parts of Greenview are served by the Grande Prairie Rural RCMP, who report to Grande Prairie RCMP and are based in the city.
The proposed building could possibly house the Clairmont RCMP, RCMP serving Sexsmith and area and the county’s Regional Enforcement Services, according to county communications.
“This is a good thing for the County of Grande Prairie,” said county reeve Leanne Beaupre.
“We’ve always had a concern about response times from inside the City of Grande Prairie to the rural areas of the county.
“It’s a large area for those individuals to serve, and if you have to go through the City of Grande Prairie, it just adds time.”
A Clairmont detachment has become a possibility as the community is reaching a population of 5,000, Beaupre said.
According to the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, when a community reaches 5,000 it has the option of contracting police services with the RCMP.
Beaupre said she expects Statistics Canada’s next census will show Clairmont has surpassed 5,000 people.
“This is part of the evolution of growth in the Clairmont area,” she said.
Regional Enforcement Services are currently based in the county’s community services building which is also in Clairmont.
“Bringing rural enforcement together in a rurally-located detachment is a smart model for policing as the region grows,” Beaupre said.
“It supports more efficient planning and better response times to rural communities in the county and the region.”
Cpl. Deanna Fontaine, Alberta RCMP media relations officer, said she believes Grande Prairie Rural serving Sexsmith and area will remain separate from the Clairmont RCMP, though both would be under the same roof.
According to county communications, the building could also serve as headquarters for the Western Alberta District RCMP, to whom the Grande Prairie and Beaverlodge RCMP report.
Fontaine said the ratio- nale of moving the Western Alberta District relates partly to logistics in serving a large area, as well as a need for additional office space.
The Beaverlodge RCMP would remain an independent detachment.
Beaupre said a RCMP lease would partly cover the costs of a new building.
Total costs and a location within Clairmont are to be determined, she added.
After county council and the RCMP exchanged letters expressing an intent to weigh options, county communications announced the county will establish a rural policing planning committee to explore the issue.
The committee will consist of some county councillors, administration and RCMP.
During Monday’s council meeting Beaupre and county councillors Daryl Beeston and Harold Bulford were appointed to the committee, Beaupre said.
She said timelines for when the committee will complete discussions haven’t yet been determined.
Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News