Increased security demands for former premier Alison Redford forced the province to hire the Calgary Police Service at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The demands outstripped the resources of Alberta Justice’s Executive Protection Unit, a specially trained unit of sheriffs that provides security to the premier, documents obtained by CBC News through freedom of information show.
In Nov. 2012, a senior officer with the provincial security unit asked the Calgary Police Service (CPS) to assume responsibility for Redford when she was in Calgary.
The CPS subsequently created a special unit — the Premier’s Protective Detail — to provide security services for Redford and her family not only in Calgary, but also in Canmore and Banff.
See the documents obtained by CBC News
“Our deputy chief, Neil LeMay, instructed me to contact someone within your police service to discuss the possibility of utilizing police officers trained in close protection to assist our executive protection unit in Calgary,” wrote Insp. Bruce Cruikshank of the Executive Protection Unit in a Nov. 16, 2012 email to a senior CPS officer. “We would be looking at [CPS officers] working on a paid duty basis.”
Over a 14-month period beginning in November 2012, CPS billed Alberta Justice more than $465,000, according to a series of invoices.
The additional cost of hiring the CPS to provide security for Redford overextended the security unit’s budget.
In a Nov. 19, 2012 email, security deputy chief Neil LeMay tells Rick Taylor, the unit’s chief, that changes are being made to the premier’s security detail at the request of Redford’s executive assistant.
“CPS will be billing us on a paid duty basis,” LeMay wrote. “Additional costs will be slightly under $200,000 to the end of December 2012. I am already forecasting to be $500,000 over budget on the [Executive Protection Unit], however with these new costs, at the end of the fiscal year I am forecasting to be $1.8 million over budget.”
Had CPS continued to provide security to Redford, CPS chief Rick Hanson estimated it would cost the police service more than $1.2 million in 2014, the documents reveal.
Security services for Redford ended when she resigned as premier in March.
Demands placed stress on Calgary police
There is nothing in the heavily redacted documents to explain why Redford required so much more protection than her predecessor, Ed Stelmach, whose security was provided by a contingent of seven sheriffs.
The special CPS unit provided security to Redford and her family not only in Calgary, but also in Canmore, where Redford and her husband own a condo, and in Banff, where her family skis.
In a proposed $1.2-million budget for guarding Redford and her family in 2014, the CPS included about $3,200 for ski passes and ski rentals.
The documents reveal Redford’s security demands placed significant stress on CPS. In several emails, CPS officers repeatedly asked the protection unit when it would assume responsibility for Redford’s security. The service was supposed to end on April 1, 2013 but continued until at least January 2014.
At one point, CPS appeared to have had trouble collecting from Alberta Justice. The City of Calgary issued a “past due notice” on behalf of CPS to Alberta Justice for a nearly $30,000 unpaid invoice.
CBC News requested documents related to Redford’s security on Jan. 31, 2014. Alberta Justice released the documents on Friday, a day after the legislative session ended. Of the 653 pages of documents, Alberta Justice redacted 378 pages and entire sections of the remaining pages. The documents are to be made public later this week because Alberta Justice says they are in the public interest.
CBC News also requested records related to Redford’s security from the CPS in January. The CPS has refused to release any of the 340 pages responsive to the request.