Policing Alberta: An Analysis of the Alternatives to the Federal Provision of Police Services

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Today, from direct observation, the average Albertan is probably aware only that police services in the province are provided either by the RCMP or by municipal police officers. In fact, there are four distinctive types of police services currently provided in Alberta: RCMP policing, municipal policing, First Nations policing, and regional policing, which has been a legal option under the Alberta Police Act since 1988. (Alberta, 1991, p.13) Historically the arrangements that have led to the several types of policing are quite distinct, as are the needs served by the several police services.

As the historical sketch given in the introduction of this paper regarding the introduction and dissolution of the federal police in Alberta indicates, explicit agreements between the two orders of government (or their abrogation) have proven decisive. In addition, however, the form of policing in any given community is also conditioned by regulations reflecting the population of that community and by the option of a discretionary act by the local municipal government. This section will briefly introduce the different types of policing arrangements present in Alberta and summarize the perceived advantages and disadvantages of each.

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