Supporting law and order

There are few professions that require their members to run into danger while everyone else is running from it. Police officers, members of the Canadian Armed Forces, and firefighters do this on a regular basis.

For over a year, debate has raged over funding for police services. Calls to defund the police have been made repeatedly, though they have quieted some.

Let me be clear: I do not support the defund the police movement. I have been and always will be a supporter of our men and women in blue. They regularly walk into situations that the rest of us run from. I believe they should be able to count on us for support, just as we count on them for support.

Edmonton’s Police Service does good - great - work to keep our city safe. They are inundated with calls and do their best to answer every one of them quickly. One tweet from the President of the Edmonton Police Association identified the queue of calls awaiting team members when they started their shift. Defunding the police would make those wait times and queues worse.

If you’ve been reading or watching the news over the past year, there are a number of headlines that may have caught your eye:

Elderly woman violently assaulted by stranger, Edmonton police release suspect video - Edmonton Journal, May 21, 2020
Violent crime an ongoing challenge for Edmonton police, chief says - CBC, October 22, 2020
More guns, more violence, more homicides: Edmonton police chief reflects on 2020 - CBC, December 23, 2020
Edmonton city police seeking information on group believed to be connected to a spree of violent robberies - Edmonton Journal, February 12, 2021
Edmonton homicide count reaches 20 for 2021 - Edmonton Journal, August 15, 2021
Edmonton seniors attacked in string of home invasions - Global News, September 5, 2021
‘Violent summer’ of 2021 concerning: Edmonton Police Association - CTV News, September 6, 2021

The above headlines are just a small sample of crime-related news headlines in our city. This increase in criminal activity and escalation of severity are very concerning. We need police officers to be able to respond. We need them to continue to do their jobs so that we can worry less when walking to school, taking transit, going about our daily lives. Defunding the police makes it more difficult to react and respond to crime, let alone be able to do proactive work.

Speaking of proactive work, initiatives like the Neighbourhood Empowerment Teams (NET) and the Human-centred Engagement and Liaison Partnership (HELP) unit in Edmonton are often completely overlooked by proponents of the defund the police movement. NET has been in place for a number of years, while HELP launched this past January. Both of these initiatives are built around community partnerships to focus on community safety, building relationships, and ensuring people are connected with the appropriate services. Defunding the police could put these teams at risk.

Four years ago when I ran for office, multiple people said they missed the community police stations, such as the Beverly location which closed in 2013. This year, I have had conversations with folks in several neighbourhoods who wished there was a more regular, local police presence. I think that more community officers who know the local residents, the communities, and the streets, is a great thing. Defunding the police removes that possibility.

No matter what anyone says, calls to defund the police are just that: calls to defund. In the United States, several cities made drastic cuts or removed their police service entirely. They are reversing those decisions and increasing their police spending, as reported by the Wall Street Journal this past spring.

There is room for improvement, I’m sure. We should push for constant improvement. But defunding the police will not make that happen.

When it comes down to it, if you or I or our loved ones call 9-1-1 for police assistance, we want to know that someone is there and will come to our aid. I am so grateful that police nearby were able to intervene this past July when a mother was violently attacked while picking up her children from daycare. The woman was reportedly moments from death when the police arrived. Let’s be clear: if we were to defund, we’d be putting all of us at greater risk and that is unacceptable.

I appreciate and respect the difficult job that our men and women in blue do every day. Their job is made more difficult when people actively work against them. I’m running to be your councillor in the Dene ward. I support the Edmonton Police Service and will not defund the police.

Showing 2 comments

  • Dan Murray
    followed this page 2021-09-25 08:49:55 -0600
  • Tricia Velthuizen
    published this page in News 2021-09-22 21:55:25 -0600

Tricia Velthuizen for Edmonton City Council