Edmonton Police asking for $20M budget increase
Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht will appear before city council on Wednesday to ask for an additional $20 million in next year's police budget.
About $6.5 million of the increase will help pay for 29 new officers — including six homicide detectives —as well as nine contracted sheriffs to escort prisoners to the new remand centre in north Edmonton and four contracted paramedics for the cells in downtown headquarters.
However, Knecht may face a rough ride from the mayor and city councillors on the first day of their discussions about the 2013 operating budget.
"They need to get control of their department and start being more efficient," Mayor Stephen Mandel said.
"I mean there are challenges. But they have more increases than any other department in this city. I think we need to challenge them to become as efficient as other departments in dealing with the needs."
Coun. Don Iveson says council will likely have a "tough conversation" with police.
"We can't increase the police force at multiple times the rate of growth of the city, every year, year after year," he said.
Coun. Dave Loken, who is on the police commission, acknowledged that the police are asking for a lot of money.
"My advice to them is to come prepared," he said.
"Make sure you explain it clearly and, like anybody else, you're going to have to present a good business case and justify why you need these extra funds."
Overall, the Edmonton Police Service is asking for $285 million in the proposed 2013 operating budget.