On March 13th, the Alberta Government presented their Public Safety Statutes Amendment Act, 2024 at a media conference.

If this new legislation gets passed, a new police organization would be established in Alberta.

"I think it is very important to state immediately that in the clearest terms possible that this legislation does NOT create a Provincial Police Service in replace of the RCMP," explained the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services, Mike Ellis. "Our aim here is to bring the police-like functions that the Alberta Sheriffs have taken on, over time, under the same kind of legislative framework and civilian oversite as Alberta's police services."

The role of Alberta's Sheriffs has grown over the years, originally starting out as the Court and Prisoner Security force.

After getting expanded by the provincial government in the early 2000's, the Sheriff's department has grown to the point where they are able to investigate drunk driving and other police-like services.

"Expanding the Sheriff Highway patrol's authority to include impaired driving investigations in 2021 is a shining example of how augmenting our police model has boosted public safety. This growth is related to versatility," Minister Ellis says.

This new police force the province is proposing, according to Minister Ellis, will help to strengthen the police services in Alberta, and take over the police-like functions that the Alberta Sheriffs are currently performing.

This legislation will give the new police force the authority and jurisdiction to work alongside and support the RCMP, municipal police services, and First Nations police services in Alberta.

Because of that, the government is saying this will make it easier for them to fulfill communities' requests for additional law enforcement, because the new police force will be able to seamlessly work alongside local police.

They are also saying that this new police force will be able to perform specialized law enforcement functions and will allow other police services across the province to spend a larger portion of their time focused on frontline duties and core operations.

But, according to the police union the National Police Federation (NDF), this new police force is an unwelcome burden on taxpayers.

"We are deeply concerned and perplexed about the announcement made [March 13th] by the Government of Alberta to introduce new legislation laying the groundwork for a new independent police agency. Alberta has significant policing infrastructure in place through the Alberta RCMP, yet the Government has not increased funding for our members to keep pace with population growth and evolving crime in the province," explained the NPF President Brian Suavé. "Albertans proudly support the Alberta RCMP, with successive waves of public opinion research showing that 4 out of 5 Albertan’s in RCMP-served communities are satisfied with their policing services."

Suavé adds that the proposed changes to policing in Alberta have not been popular with residents.

"[The March 13th] announcement appears to be yet another attempt to force an unwanted and expensive policing change on taxpayers," said Suavé. "For several years, our Members in Alberta have been caught in the middle of a highly politicized debate on policing. Rather than legislation, bureaucracy and more government spending to explore alternative policing services, it’s time to invest in the highly trained, professional provincial policing service accountable to Albertans: the Alberta RCMP."