Edmonton Metropolis Council votes to implement the Police Activity Pressure’s suggestions
EDMONTON – Edmonton City Council has unanimously voted for the city government to work with the police to review and develop a strategy to implement the recommendations of the Task Force on Community Safety and Welfare.
The task force was originally formed after a public hearing at which 142 Edmontons shared their views on racism and policing in the city.
“We’re not exaggerating, we’re afraid for our safety when people who are supposed to protect us arrive where we are,” said Laila Bellony, a member of the task force.
Their report contained 14 recommendations, which the Task Force described as “common sense and feasible actions” to be implemented.
“There is no menu to choose from, any recommendation should be implemented,” said Rob Houle, another member of the task force. “They are nuanced so that they differ from what is currently being done.”
The recommendations aim to change the way Edmontoners interact with law enforcement and social services.
These include changing the composition of the Police Commission to better reflect the community, increasing transparency, and examining ways to prevent unnecessary use of force.
“Some of these are either underway or can be implemented quickly,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “I really appreciate the commitment of the city manager to see what we can do within 90 days.”
The task force also recommended freezing police funding, with increases currently being absorbed into city budgets according to a set formula.
“This funding formula was an attempt to essentially depoliticize the police funding debate,” said Ward 9 Coun., Tim Cartmell.
The council agreed with 8 to 5 that the city administration should collect further data on the recommendation to align the funding with comparable cities and to tie part of it to the specific service.
The Task Force report states: “Edmonton spends more per person on police than many comparable cities in Canada.”
This city council report is expected in the first quarter of 2022.
“I think legitimate questions have been asked about what I think should be a formula for funding community safety and well-being that should address the needs and opportunities of prevention, and predictability and safety on the front lines,” said Iveson.
A report on the progress of the recommendations is expected in three months.
“It also gives the community time to talk about this report and the work the city is doing to put key recommendations into action,” said Iveson.
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Jeremy Thompson