In the interest of combatting misinformation, City Council did not vote to “defund the police” this week. That’s an attention-grabbing slogan, but it doesn’t capture the nuance or details of the situation.
To clarify, we heard recommendations from the Community Safety and Well-Being Task Force. The focus was on making sure everyone in the city feels safe calling for help. It was not about defunding the police but rather about making sure that alternate areas that serve people are funded. Most of the recommendations are about making sure the complex and diverse needs of the community are better served and supported.
The motion Council voted in favour of was to have City Administration and the Police Commission work together to come up with strategies we can take quick action on in 90 days, and provide in-depth analysis on the recommendations that are more policy questions and report back in early 2022. The second part of the motion is about reviewing the Police Funding Formula and again, reporting back on it in early 2022.
Here’s the full text of the motion:
1. That Administration work with the Edmonton Police Commission to review Safer for All recommendations (April 6, 2021, Community Safety and Well-Being Task Force report CR_8453) and develop a joint strategy to enhance community safety, well being, inclusion and anti-racism, informed by the report, and report back a. on an interim basis to Community and Public Services Committee, within 90 days, on quickly actionable items within direct City of Edmonton control, and b. in depth to City Council in Q1 of 2022.
2. That Administration conduct further analysis regarding amendments to the Edmonton Police Service Funding Formula Policy C604, including but not limited to, peer funding level comparators and performance accountability mechanisms, and report back in tandem with the Q1 2022 report.
Not nearly as riveting as “defund the police,” is it? But those are the facts. Reviewing all policies from time to time to make sure they’re working as intended is just part of routine good governance.
I am committed to building a safe city, where everyone feels safe calling for help when they need it, and people who need help are responded to with compassion. Making sure we have adequate police resources will always be a part of that. That’s why I’m glad to welcome the Northwest Police Division to our ward. Our neighbourhoods will see improved service and response times. We are planning on having a virtual town hall on safety with the police in next few weeks. I’ll share the details here when they are determined.
Thanks to Constables Farbin and McRae and the rest of the EPS team for the tour of Northwest Division!