Edmonton city council will vote on creation of 16-member community task force to recommend policing reforms

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“The task force would give the community more direct oversight of the evolution to a more holistic approach to community safety in Edmonton.”

If approved, the task force will consist of 10 community members appointed by city council, an independent chairperson, two members of the Edmonton Police Service appointed by Chief Dale McFee, two City of Edmonton staff and one member of the Edmonton Police Commission.

A third-party recruiting firm will be hired to recruit and interview the community member candidates to ensure a range of residents receive an opportunity to join the task force. Recommendations will then be made to city council for approval.

Criteria for appointment includes lived experience as a member of a marginalized community and a demonstrated passion for creating anti-racist policies to enhance equity in Edmonton, the report said.

‘It is a priority’

Ward 5 Coun. Sarah Hamilton, who serves as a council representative on the police commission, said although the work of the task force will need to be done in a quick time frame, the March 2021 due date for recommendations highlights the urgency of the matter.

The task force will also be providing recommendations on how to reallocate $11 million from the police budget that council approved in July.

“We are able to act very quickly and nimbly when the economy is at stake and I think that the community at large deserves to see that kind of hustle when it comes to community safety and well-being. It is a priority and we should take it seriously,” she said. “By being quick and nimble, I think that’s part of delivering on that call for action.”

Creation of the task force is expected to cost the city $480,000 for member compensation, recruitment by a third-party firm and external support resources. Of the cost, $180,000 is already accounted for and the city will bring forward a budget adjustment in the fall for the additional $300,000 to come out of the $11-million police budget reduction.

The task force will be disbanded upon completion of the work. A proposed bylaw for creation of the committee will be voted on by council Monday.





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