Edmonton is leaning into police reform. On Monday, July 6, the city council voted to slash the Edmonton Police Service (EPS)'s budget by $11 million over two years. Following weeks of debate on the motion, the city council approved 20 actions related to police reform, including the creation of a civilian-led task force.
"Amend the EPS budget from 2021 levels by $11M with reductions split over the 2021 and 2022 budget years," reads one of the points.
The budget amendment passed in a 10-3 vote.
Another point says that the city will reinvest the savings to "fund supportive housing construction grants to end homelessness" and to fund programs that are of interest to community development and creating a social safety net for locals.
The document also says that by August 2020, the city should have a preliminary plan to set up a "Community Safety and Well-being Task Force."
This task force will also be responsible for giving advice and making recommendations to the government on how they can best invest in community initiatives. This group will be made up of community members.
There are also a ton of things the government has committed to doing in the coming year.
For example, the city is asked to review options that better hold the Transit Peace Officers "accountable for excessive use of force."
The motion also calls for the review of many bylaws, especially ones that involve "pretence policing."
Things like jaywalking, riding a bike on the sidewalk, loitering, or interfering with lawn furniture are some of the examples that have been listed.
The mayor is also to write a letter to both the Solicitor General and the Edmonton Police Commission.
The letter is supposed to cover issues like Carding and Street Check policy, the police's latest information on dash and body cams, independent investigation panels that will handle public complaints against the police, and much more.
Speaking on these new changes, Mayor Don Iveson said in a press conference, "It's been an emotional journey these past few weeks."
He noted that there's been a "spectrum of perspectives" that have led to the motion getting passed on Monday.
Iveson also said that this motion is the first step in making sure the city of Edmonton is able to build a fair community safety model, something that looks past "traditional policing" into a more "holistic approach" to community wellbeing.