Edmonton

Province increases ALERT funding to fight gangs, organized crime

The Alberta government will give an extra $2.6 million this year to the integrated police teams that investigate organized crime, gang violence, drug trafficking and child exploitation in the province.

Budget includes an extra $2.6M this year for Alberta's integrated police teams

This photograph shows the drugs seized during an ALERT bust. (CBC)

The Alberta government will give an extra $2.6 million this year to the integrated police teams that investigate organized crime, gang violence, drug trafficking and child exploitation in the province.

The increase means the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team will be able to maintain all its policing positions, the province said in a news release Thursday.

ALERT will receive a total of $29.1 million in provincial funding in this budget year.

"This government knows the valuable work ALERT does to help make our province safer each day," Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley said in a statement. "With urgent issues like the deadly impacts of fentanyl, we felt it was critical to maintain ALERT's integrated approach to crime.

Along with increased funding for ALERT, 40 sheriff positions in the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit and the Sheriff's Surveillance Unit have moved to the Justice and Solicitor General department.

The transfer of the sheriffs will allow ALERT to focus on its core mandate of fighting organized and serious crime.

ALERT, established in 2006, is an integrated, provincially-focused law enforcement unit that brings together municipal police and RCMP officers.

The SCAN unit targets and shuts down properties that are regularly used for illegal activities such as drugs, gangs, and prostitution.