$4.3 million in policing costs for Leduc annex hard to justify: Edmonton mayor
'I think we got a bit of sticker shock, frankly, with what the ask is,' Mayor Don Iveson says
Edmonton police say they need 25 more constables to effectively patrol lands the city plans to annex from Leduc County.
The planned annexation would add about 80 square kilometres, 725 people and cost $4.3 million by 2019, Edmonton police told the city's community services committee Monday.
The police said adding more geography to their patrol area will affect their ability to respond.
"That could be an injury collision on Highway 19, that could be a break-and-enter in progress on a rural property," Edmonton police Supt. Chad Tawfik said.
Mayor Don Iveson said it would be hard to justify spending the money, considering the city wouldn't be getting that amount from the 725 new taxpayers it would acquire when the land is annexed.
Right now, the goal is for Edmonton police to respond to calls within seven minutes, 80 per cent of the time.
"When you increase the city's geography by 12 per cent, there's going to be impacts and we have to be able to respond," Tawfik said.
"It's not what people are used to there," he said. "I question the applicability of a seven-minute response time to quarter sections of largely uninhabited land."
The Leduc annexation deal, signed in June, still has to be approved by the province.
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Police said they will need 18 months to prepare, hire and train new staff to ensure public and officer safety.
Tawfik said police can only express what they feel they need and let council make its decision.
"We will have to do the best we can with what we got," Tawfik said.
The analysis shows the police would need the extra funding starting in 2018.
Iveson asked police and staff for a revised request in February, and said he wants to explore "interim lower level of service" options somewhere between what the RCMP deliver now and what urban Edmonton police provide.