The Calgary Police Commission has a duty to ensure that the Calgary Police Service has the resources it needs to keep our City safe and to prevent crime.
We recognize the difficulties our community faces and take seriously our responsibility to protect public safety, while holding CPS accountable to manage finances, deliver value to citizens, and keep Calgary a safe place to live and do business.
The Commission has worked closely with CPS leadership in recent years to create an organization that is as lean as possible, while still providing citizens with the services and supports they expect from their police. CPS has already contributed more than $20 million back to the city since 2017 and did not request a budget increase in 2020.
We appreciate the City’s efforts to minimize reductions to CPS and we will continue to do our part to look for ways to contribute to the City’s need for budget reductions. At the same time, we must do so in a thoughtful manner that minimizes the impact of budget reductions on the safety of Calgarians.
In recent months, the Commission has been clear with the City that any cuts greater than the $7million reduction in July would impact both public safety and employee positions.
More cuts would likely mean losing police officer and civilian staff positions and putting a stop to hiring, resulting in fewer officers to respond to calls for service as CPS would not be able to replace members who resign or retire. This could leave CPS with one of the lowest citizen-to-officer ratios in the country at a time when calls for service and crime are increasing.
Crime rates in the Calgary region increased in 2018 and are outpacing the crime rate increases both in Alberta and nationally, with notable increases in violence. The rates of vehicle theft are the highest in Canada while break and enters are the second highest in Canada. The organization’s ability to respond is largely based on the number of police officers available.
An inability to hire new members would also hamper efforts to modify the composition of the organization to better reflect the diversity of the community. This has been a priority for the Commission as it has a significant impact on the community’s trust and confidence in our police in the future.
Additional reductions may also mean that CPS looks at closing units and facilities, withdrawing from some community partnerships, restricting some investigations, and slowing implementation of recommendations from independent reviews aimed at improving officer and citizen safety through improvements in training, equipment, and structures.
The ability to maintain an elevated presence to support safety in the downtown core is also at risk, which likely has impacts on the long-term economic prosperity of the City.
We know citizens value safety communities and investment in the Calgary Police Service. At this time, we believe there is simply no more flexibility to make cuts without changing the trajectory of Calgary’s police service.