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Red Deer RCMP recognized for work with young offenders with FASD

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News Release from Red Deer RCMP

Red Deer RCMP receive 2021 FASD Champion Award

Members of the Red Deer RCMP’s Community Policing unit were honoured with the Central Alberta FASD Network’s 2021 FASD Champion Award last month.

Each year, the Central Alberta FASD Network recognizes a member of the community for their efforts to support and strengthen the FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) community. The FASD Network board, our employees and their clients nominate a person or organization that has made a significant impact on the FASD community.

“The team in Community Policing were unanimously chosen as the winner thanks to the incredible work they are doing and the impact they’re making in Youth Restorative Justice,” says Julie Nanson-Ashton, Executive Director. “Through this program, the officers divert youth who are involved in the Criminal Justice System to our network, where we can then assess, diagnose and provide support to youth with FASD through our Youth Restorative Practices Intervention Program/FASD Diversion Program.”

Since its launch in 2020, this intensive and preventative program has successfully reduced the negative impact the justice system has on the individual, as well as reduces the youth’s criminal activities in our community. By connecting these youth with the FASD Network, we are able to provide outreach services, supports and mentorship for not only the individuals, but their partners and caregivers. We work to address their underlying risk factors, creating better long-term outcomes for individuals impacted by FASD and their family.

“We are very thankful to be recognized for this award,” says Cst. Francois Nadeau with Red Deer RCMP’s Community Policing unit. “We recognize that FASD is the single biggest risk factor for youth crime and recidivism in Red Deer. That’s why partnering with the FASD Network is so effective at diverting young offenders away from the criminal justice system. By supporting them with the skills and tools available in Red Deer, these youth are better enabled to build healthy, productive habits and much less likely to be involved with drugs, gangs and crime.”

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a diagnostic term used to describe impacts on the brain and body of individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol. FASD is a lifelong disability. Individuals with FASD will experience some degree of challenges in their daily living, and need support with motor skills, physical health, learning, memory, attention, communication, emotional regulation, and social skills to reach their full potential. Each individual with FASD is unique and has areas of both strengths and challenges.

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Alberta

In his own words: Alberta’s Justice Minister repulses federal firearm confiscation

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OP/ED submitted to Todayville by Alberta Justice Minister Shandro

Challenging the federal firearms ban

Last month, the federal minister responsible for the RCMP wrote to me to request that Alberta provide resources starting this fall to begin confiscating an estimated 30,000 legally acquired firearms from Albertans. We have rejected their request and will not offer any resources.

The firearms that they are seeking to confiscate were part of a list of over 1500 models that were banned by the federal Liberals in 2020. An amnesty is currently in effect until October 2023, after which time they will be prohibited to possess.

The list of banned models were all previously non-restricted and restricted firearms, including hunting rifles and shotguns as well as historical artifacts almost a hundred years old. Why ban these firearms? A committee of federal bureaucrats decided that these firearms look scary – which is why they describe them as “assault-style.” In reality, we know these firearms, no matter how they may be styled, are in no way materially different from more familiar looking rifles and shotguns.

To challenge this ban, Alberta will apply to intervene in six ongoing lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the prohibition.

I have also been advised that the Commanding Officer of K Division does not support using provincial police resources to administer the federal government’s confiscation program. Despite this, we have been told that the Federal Liberals intend to conscript provincial RCMP officers into acting as confiscation agents.

Alberta taxpayers pay over $750 million per-year for the RCMP and we will not tolerate taking officers off the streets in order to confiscate the property of law-abiding firearms owners.

To take action, I have used the authorities that we have as a province to identify the confiscation program as an activity that is not appropriate for the RCMP to be used for. Should the federal government proceed with their plan, I will launch a formal dispute under the Provincial Police Service Agreement.

However, because the RCMP is a federal entity, we believe that the Federal Liberals will again interfere in police operations – just as they did when they politicized the mass shooting in Nova Scotia in order to bolster their case for the same pending firearms ban – and order that the RCMP act as confiscation agents.

If this happens, we will consider all options at our disposal to protect Albertans and the property rights that they are entitled to.

 

Tyler Shandro

Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

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Alberta

Alberta UCP leadership hopefuls split on idea of provincial police to replace RCMP

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By Dean Bennett

The seven candidates running to be the next United Conservative Party leader and premier are split on whether Alberta should bring in its own provincial police force.

Four of them told a debate Thursday that it’s not a plan they would pursue right now.

“Not at this time,” candidate Rebecca Schulz said to applause from local leaders at the Alberta Municipalities annual meeting in Calgary.

“It is not supported by the vast majority of municipalities. And it is not something that has really come up on anybody’s doorstep as I’ve travelled Alberta.”

Schulz said more must be done to address rural crime response time and security in cities, but added that could be addressed immediately by spending more money on specialized crime units and rural police initiatives.

Danielle Smith said the goal is better policing without extra cost and that more systemic change is needed to help police deal with a high number of mental health and addiction cases.

“I would want to move immediately with augmenting our current (RCMP) policing,” said Smith.

Travis Toews said he is in favour of a provincial police service to better fight crime but understands municipalities worry about being saddled with onerous costs.

“I know you’re concerned about having to pick up a larger portion of the tab,” said Toews, promising to work with local leaders on a solution.

Leela Aheer said not enough consultation has been done with municipalities and there is not enough detail on how it will be paid for.

“There has been absolutely no information about funding, and it’s bizarre how this information has come across all of our desks,” said Aheer.

“We will talk about this and we will go forward, but I do not support it at this time.”

Brian Jean said the issue is bigger than more police officers and must also include stopping “the revolving door of criminals through our justice system.”

Jean added, “I commit to not removing the RCMP from Alberta.”

Todd Loewen said about six in 10 Albertans already receive police service by non-RCMP officers and the rest should at least have the option to pursue the same deal.

“I do support a provincial police force. But do I believe municipalities should pay for it? No,” said Loewen.

Rajan Sawhney characterized the provincial police force proposal as a solution in search of a problem and said more consultation is needed.

“I absolutely do not support an Alberta provincial police force,” said Sawhney. “I haven’t heard one elected official actually speak in support of it.

“We’re trying to jump to a solution to a problem that has not been fairly articulated.”

The Alberta Municipalities represents and speaks for villages, towns and cities in the province.

Alberta Municipalities president Cathy Heron said they don’t support the current model proposed by the government last fall.

But Heron said they are open to a deeper dive on different options, perhaps-hybrid models and ways to better treat root causes of crime.

“We would be open to a conversation about a provincial police force — just not the one that was proposed,” Heron said in an interview.

Earlier this year, the Rural Municipalities of Alberta said it supports keeping the RCMP and opposes the idea of a provincial police force because the government has failed to demonstrate how it would increase service levels in rural areas.

Premier Jason Kenney’s government is still investigating whether to pursue a plan to replace Mounties, who currently carry out their duties in rural areas and some smaller cities.

A third-party consultant’s report released last October estimates it costs Alberta about $500 million a year for the RCMP. The federal government chips in $170 million under a cost-sharing agreement. The report said if Alberta decides to go it alone, it would cost about $735 million each year, on top of $366 million in startup costs.

But it said there is potential for more cost-effective law enforcement by using existing human resources and the government’s financial services to save money, and by drafting agreements with municipal forces to share specialized services.

UCP members will select a new leader to replace Kenney on Oct. 6.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2022.

— with files from Colette Derworiz in Calgary

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