Police face budget woes in new year: Knecht

Edmonton's police chief says his force faces a big challenge next year in the form of a multi-million dollar budget shortfall.

Knecht says police will renew request for more money after city council rejected call for extra $6.5M

Edmonton’s police chief says his force faces a big challenge next year in the form of a multi-million dollar budget shortfall.

In a year-end interview with CBC News, Rod Knecht says the police must find a way to make up the deficit after city council turned down a request for an extra $6.5 million earlier this month.

One of the money-saving ideas they are exploring is sharing patrols with the RCMP for areas just outside of Edmonton.

"Where we'll put an RCMP member and an Edmonton Police Service member in an Edmonton police car and share patrols in the metropolitan area," Knecht said.

He says aside from sharing the budget burden, shared patrols will allow RCMP and EPS to communicate better while dealing with crime on the edge of the city.

"The bad guys don't differentiate between the border between Edmonton and St. Albert.  So we as police services, I don't think we should differentiate either," he said.

"I think we should be working more together."

Knecht says the police force will return to city council next year to renew the request for more funding.

Drugs at Remand Centre hard to solve

In the interview, Knecht also said that Edmonton police are aware of drug problems in Edmonton’s Remand Centre.

Last week, a fatality report harshly criticized the centre for not doing more to keep drugs out of the institution.

"As a police service, we're aware of the fact drugs are getting into the institutions.  Merely because we do go to overdoses there a lot.  So I think unfortunately drugs are prevalent in the institutions," Knecht said.

"They do get in there through a number of means. And it's a difficult situation."

He hopes the new Remand Centre, to be opened in April, will help with the issue.

"The Remand Centre here is fairly old and I think a new facility should cut down on that.  I don't know, I don't want to prejudge or anything else.  But I think there'll be more checks and balances in place in a new institution."