Alberta child abuse centres to get full-time RCMP officers

The head of Alberta's RCMP has announced where some of the province's 40 new officers will be stationed.
Alberta RCMP Commanding Officer Marianne Ryan and Justice Minister Jonathan Denis announce that 40 more officers will be hired in the province. (Trevor Wilson/CBC News)

The head of Alberta's RCMP has announced where some of the province's 40 new officers will be stationed.

The Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in Calgary and the Zebra Child Protection Centre in Edmonton are each getting one Mountie full time.

Commanding Officer Marianne Ryan said Monday that officers in the past have worked closely with city police at both centres and it's important for Mounties to be on site.

"Child abuse and sexual exploitations are serious crimes that require dedicated resources," she said.

We recognize children and youth represent one of the most vulnerable sectors of our society and that we need to do everything we can to protect them, but also apprehend individuals who are involved."

Some Mounties will be assigned to emergency response duties to help with natural disasters, such as the extensive flooding that hit southern Alberta last year and the wildfires that devastated Slake Lake in 2011, Ryan said.

Others will help fight organized crime and some will be sent to communities were they are most needed.

The government announced the 40 new positions in last month's provincial budget as part of its $227-million policing contract with the RCMP.

Last year, the province spent $214 million on the RCMP, which added 26 officers to the force.

Of those, 16 were traffic enforcement positions to specifically patrol Highway 63, the dangerous stretch of road linking Edmonton to the oilsands region of Fort McMurray.