Manitoba's justice minister says the province is examining the police services agreement between Altona and Plum Coulee.
The arrangement is scheduled to end on December 31, 2019, based on municipal amalgamation legislation that went into effect in 2015, which stipulates that municipalities can only have one police entity servicing their community. Any additional policing agreements in a municipality would have to be closed out in five years.
Rhineland is currently policed by the RCMP with the exception of Plum Coulee, which had been using Altona Police Services for several years prior to amalgamation. That arrangement will end this year and so will the provincial funding that was provided to help offset some of the cost of that deal.
Plum Coulee will pay close to 140-thousand dollars this year for Altona police services, of which the province pays a portion through a grant.
Both Altona and Rhineland Municipality would like to extend the police arrangement for Plum Coulee and have been lobbying the province to reconsider their situation.
Justice Minister Cliff Cullen says they had some discussions with these municipalities and he's confident they can arrive at a workable solution that satisfies all parties involved.
"I think there is an opportunity, and I know the department has been working closely with the municipality and Plum Coulee to come to an arrangement. We recognize the challenges that have occurred as a result of these (municipal) amalgamations. We were able to overcome it in another situation that did occur."
Meanwhile, Cullen suggests this discussion will likely tie into the review of Manitoba's Police Services Act which will start this spring in consultation with municipalities.
"It's time for a comprehensive review of both the legislation and the funding model and our intent is to engage municipalities in that process. Clearly, we have a unique situation in Rhineland and we're going to be working closely with the municipality to come to some kind of a resolution to that situation."
Cullen says the current provincial funding model for police services in Manitoba will be an important component of the review. He says the system in place has created some challenges for the government and contains inconsistencies among the municipalities.
"It's up to the municipalities to determine how they want to provide police services and we recognize there are different situations that have developed, but from a funding perspective, I'm not comfortable that we have a framework that would accommodate some of those unique situations. That's why we as a government took the view that it's time to review how we fund police services across the province."
According to Cullen, the police review should be up and running this spring and he expects recommendations will be submitted to the province within the year.
He adds, Scott Kolody who is currently the Manitoba RCMP Assistant Commissioner, will join the government as the new assistant deputy minister to help lead the police review.