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WHEREAS in RCMP Detachments, where courthouses do not exist, officers are required to travel out of the detachment area to attend court;WHEREAS the officer or officers may spend an entire day attending court to provide a few minutes of testimony; and WHEREAS the testimony of the officer(s) may or may not be heard; and WHEREAS this is not an efficient use of the RCMP’s time;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts & Counties requests the Government of Alberta and/or the Federal Government of Canada to allow local video conferencing or other such innovative ways to allow the member RCMP to provide testimony from their own detachment.
With small RCMP detachments serving large jurisdictions, members are often tied up several times a week in court. Police Officers often have to spend an entire day at the courthouse for only a few minutes of testimony. This testimony may or may not be heard. Often officers are required to take more than one cruiser to court on one day if there are separate members testifying at different times. In small detachment areas this leaves the area short not only in manpower but in cruisers as well.
Resolution 34-05F:THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties work with the Office of the Solicitor General, the Federal Minister of Justice and RCMP “K” Division to develop a comprehensive rural crime prevention strategy; AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to continue its work in implementing the Safe and Sustainable Communities Program by increasing the number of available front line officers for active patrol and investigative duties in rural Alberta.
The Government of Canada was notified of this issue but directed us to the Provincial Minister of Justice, as court administration is a provincial responsibility. From the responses received, both the Government of Alberta and the RCMP are open to the use of video conferencing. However, the issue at hand seems to be the availability of high-speed Internet access in remote communities required to support secure videoconferencing.