The Grande Prairie Police Service (GPPS) is actively recruiting experienced officers and recruits to join its ranks.

GPPS is seeking experienced officers with a minimum of 18 months of experience and offering them a $25,000 transitional allowance. Recruits will have a starting salary of $76,854.

“Our vision is clear, our dedication to service is unwavering, and we are eager to build a team that reflects the high aspirations we hold for our community,” said Dwayne Lakusta, GPPS police chief.

“We are seeking compassionate, community-minded leaders who mirror the diversity of Grande Prairie and embody the values of the GPPS.”

According to a media release, GPPS recruits’ salaries will increase to over $113,000 after five years of service.

It also notes that officers will be part of the Special Forces Pension Plan, which ensures their financial stability after 25 years of service.

GPPS says it offers an opportunity for officer advancement as it will need sergeants and detectives as the service grows. It also notes officers can take on specialty roles such as bike patrol, police dog services, tactical teams, serious crimes, forensic identification, drone operation, community engagement, school resources, and ALERT to address drugs and organized crime.

Lakusta spoke with Town & Country News last month, noting that GPPS officers’ training will exceed RCMP officers’ training. 

He says moving away from the RCMP’s training style with its national focus and moving to a local focus will benefit Grande Prairie.

“We’re going to demonstrate the cultural sensitivity to the local indigenous culture, communities of diversity, newcomers and Alberta’s young people.”

The police service requires applicants to take the Alberta Police Cognitive Ability Test (APCAT), which has sessions available from February to April.

Additionally, the application process for the city’s new officers will include “a series of assessments including written, physical, psychological, and polygraph tests, along with behavioural and personal disclosure interviews and a comprehensive background investigation,” said GPPS.

“The GPPS is on a mission to build a modern, professional, ethical, equitable, and locally

accountable police service dedicated to enhancing public safety within our community,”

said Lakusta. 

In March 2023, the City of Grande Prairie transitioned away from using the RCMP as the police of jurisdiction; instead, it would create its own municipal police service. 

The RCMP remain the police of jurisdiction in the city until GPPS is fully equipped, which is believed to take about five years.

GPPS is following a transition report from MNP that would see the police service fully staffed by 2027 and policing jurisdiction changed in 2026. 

“When fully staffed, we will be a comprehensive public safety agency boasting more than 225 personnel, including police officers, peace officers, outreach workers, social workers, nurses, and other civilian professionals,” said Lakusta.

The police chief noted that some changes can be expected compared to the report’s numbers of officers deployed this year.

“We’re not going to have 41 officers as indicated in the MNP report in 2024; it’s just not practical because we can’t de-escalate 41 officers from the RCMP,” said Lakusta.

He says GPPS is more likely to deploy 24 officers this year, noting he does not want to compromise the integrity of operations for expediency.

“We’re following the report, just our timelines will vary slightly, and that also is impacted by the quality of applicants that we receive.” 

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 29, 2024 at 09:11

This item reprinted with permission from   Town & Country News   Beaverlodge, Alberta

Comments are Welcome - Use the 'Join the Discussion' above any replies, or 'TheRegional / Chat' below replies. Both links take you to the same place. You will be asked to become a registered user if you are not one already - Posts are moderated