Calgary’s police chief said they will invest in “important work” undertaken by the Community Safety Investment Framework (CSIF), but it’s unclear just how much.
In last week’s budget meeting, the City of Calgary approved a budget amendment providing $8 million from the city’s fiscal reserve to the CSIF.
Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld said, during a Calgary Police Commission (CPC) meeting Tuesday, the unexpected decision from council will allow the Calgary Police Service (CPS) to address the needs of Calgarians.
“The council discussions, I think, were robust last week, in relation to the budget,” Neufeld said.
“I think (city council) acknowledged the importance of both CPS and the city themselves continuing with the anti-racism that we had discussed, as well as looking at alternative call response models.”
Chief Neufeld said during the budget presentation that any diversion of CPS funds would have to correlate with a workload reduction on CPS officers. He said many calls don’t warrant a police response, but they’re the only 24/7 responders that can attend.
Regardless of the funding source, Neufeld reiterated that CPS is still committed to doing the work that they promised.
“We will continue to be directly involved in that important work,” he said.
“And we will also invest financially in it.”
Initial commitment from CPS
In the Oct. 14 budget submission, the CPS offered $40 million from their budget, with $10 million earmarked for alternative call response.
Of the $10 million, $8 million was to work “with partners to explore models of system integration involving health, social services, justice and police.”
The remaining $2 million would support internal reviews of their call response.
CPC Chair Bonita Croft said they’d expected make this contribution to CSIF.
“What was a little unexpected was a decision by council to use $8 million of city funds to launch the work on exploring alternative call response models,” she said Tuesday.
Croft also said that a “specific quick request” had been made that the CPC report back to council next year on the $8 million they’d set aside for alternative call response.
“In other words, CPS is being asked to still allocate $8 million, or consider allocating some or all of the $8 million for the purposes that it had been intended,” said Croft.
Chief Neufeld said that they haven’t had the opportunity to discuss with the commission what the overall investment might be.
“I do contemplate returning to commission early in the new year with some further details regarding our financial investment in this important work,” he said.