The Medicine Hat Police Service is a municipal service with 114 police officers, and a support staff of 70 serving the community of Medicine Hat, Alberta. Services include a major crimes section, organized crime section, K9 section and a forensic identification unit, to name just a few.
As with many municipalities and police departments, looking for ways to be cost conscious while still providing excellent service, is an ever present challenge. “Being responsible financially to the City of Medicine Hat, and needing to find the best way to get the job done, resulted in us looking at Commissionaires services,” said Joe West, Inspector, Operational Services Division, Medicine Hat Police Service. “Deploying Commissionaires made economic sense – it is a better option than having an officer discharge those duties.”
Commissionaires were first hired in approximately 1998 to assist the police department by providing photo radar services. “Soon, the services provided to us by Commissionaires expanded to include prisoner security and parking enforcement,” said Joe West. “Regarding prisoner security, we had by-law officers conducting that at first, but they grew increasingly busier and were not able to meet all the demands on them. Putting Commissionaires on prisoner security allowed us to more effectively use our by-law officers,” said West. “The volume of work grew steadily and it just made sense to use Commissionaires rather than hire additional by-law staff.”
The Medicine Hat Police Services was successful in freeing up resources, specifically by-law officers, and they saved money at the same time. “We would have needed to hire four more by-law officers, had we not chosen to outsource this work to Commissionaires,” said West. “Commissionaires do a great job. They do a good job of managing human resources and that frees up our resources here too. Commissionaires also represent the service very well in the community.”
West says that Commissionaires are part of the landscape in Medicine Hat. “They’re in uniform representing us as an extension of police services and it’s working out very well. It’s been a good partnership.” West believes that using Commissionaires in non-core police services is a route that other police departments will take because of the cost savings. He’s quick to point out that cost savings alone isn’t all that matters. The high quality of service that Commissionaires deliver truly make them an asset.