The cool response to the Alberta government's push to create a provincial police force to replace the RCMP continues to build.

The board of directors of Alberta Urban Municipalities (ABmunis) issued a statement on Sept. 1 following a meeting with Alberta’s minister of Justice and Solicitor General Tyler Shandro that casts a dim light on the proposed policing model. The association's board speaks in favour of a proposed provincial public safety task force but doesn't believe there is a need for a provincial police force.

"If the task force's mandate is to develop models and solutions to improve public safety in our communities and throughout the province, regardless of who delivers community policing in Alberta, then we are ready to take part," it states.

"If, however, its mandate is to continue with the model as currently proposed and/or how to transition to an Alberta Provincial Police Service, then our member municipalities have been clear that they do not support this direction and they would need to be consulted to determine our association's further involvement."

ABmunis says too many questions remain unanswered on the proposed policing model. It remains skeptical about the cost to municipalities and whether the Alberta government would succeed in filling 275 new police officer positions at a time when policing organizations are already having difficulty recruiting officers.

"In fact, the uncertainty of policing in Alberta is now negatively affecting the recruitment of RCMP members and staff to our province."

They say the agenda should focus on enhancing public safety, instead of the province distancing Alberta from Ottawa.

It says the province already provides input on the hiring of the provincial leadership of the RCMP, sets the RCMP’s budget, sets policing priorities, and can integrate mental health and social supports to address complex policing challenges in communities.

"We know that the recommendations from Alberta’s communities are being heard by RCMP and that adjustments to the way it delivers contract policing are being made. ABmunis is confident that the RCMP are adapting and making great strides in community policing."

"Our board encourages the Government of Alberta to look past political differences and agendas and do what is right for all Albertans. Our province’s future public safety depends on it," the statement concludes.

ABmunis had expressed initial concern about the provincial policing model after receiving an initial briefing on Aug. 16. This latest statement amplifies these concerns.

Cochrane is one of 275 Alberta municipalities represented by ABmunis.

The Rural Municipalities Association has similar concerns.