Police funding up for debate in city council next week
EDMONTON -- Edmonton City Council will begin its own debate on police funding on June 30 after the lengthy public hearing on potential changes spurred by a movement to defund the police.
Council heard from more than 140 speakers over five days, including many Black and Indigenous people. Speakers told council about their experiences with police and what needs to change moving forward.
Many called for the Edmonton Police Service budget to be cut and to instead fund more social service responses to calls involving mental health or wellness checks.
EPS has pointed out that it already has a dedicated program that pairs officers with mental health professionals. The Police and Crisis Team unit is a partnership between police and Alberta Health Services that was started in 2004.
"There are some opportunities to make some policy changes and look at our budget priorities arising from this," Mayor Don Iveson said on Wednesday. "Whatever we do will not please everybody, that is the one thing I can tell you for sure."
Debate on a multi-step motion will begin Tuesday morning. The current version asks for a thorough report on non-police response options.
It would also have the mayor advocate for an independent watchdog for city police, much like the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT).
"I think a discussion on how we can smartly invest with a variety of front-line providers, including police, to support better community safety outcomes, I think there's real openness to that and that it will be thoughtful discussion," Iveson said.
Edmonton City Council meetings are livestreamed on the city's website.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson.