May 30th, 2024

RCMP closes city detachment

By Tim Kalinowski on October 9, 2021.


The Royal Canadian Mounted Police force has departed Lethbridge after 136 years, officially shuttering its local detachment building on Stafford Drive.
The RCMP main detachment for the region will now be based in Coaldale at a new building there.
Lethbridge Historical Society president Belinda Crowson said it’s completely understandable that the RCMP, which today serves Coaldale and Lethbridge County, would relocate to be in its service area, but it is still a sad moment from an historical perspective.
“At one time K Division had 150 men posted in Lethbridge,” says Crowson. “They served a huge area, and it was all stationed out of Lethbridge. I know I had several people contact me going, ‘The sign is covered. It’s so final.'”
The RCMP, then known at the North West Mounted Police, first arrived in Lethbridge in 1885 and established a barracks, stables and a garrison at what is known as Civic Common, the Crown land surrounding the site of today’s City Hall, in 1886. Since that time, the RCMP has always maintained a presence in Lethbridge; although its footprint in the community has diminished over the years. The current building on Stafford Drive was built in the 1950s, says Crowson.
“They used to have that entire (Civic Common) area with the barracks, a parade ground, etc.,” she confirms. “Over time they narrowed their location. The only original (1886) building left is the old mess hall that is part of the Navy League building on 10 Avenue South.”
Crowson says that old Mounted Police mess hall was likely moved to its current location in the 1940s.
Coaldale detachment commander S-Sgt. Mike Neuman says his current members are aware of the historical significance of the RCMP’s departure from Lethbridge.
“There are some items we are going to bring over and display proudly in our new detachment,” he says. “There is a lot of history in those walls. It was time, for sure, just with the condition of the building, but if those walls could talk.”
Neuman, however, says his members and support staff are excited to be in their new detachment building in Coaldale after years of waiting for the completion of a modern structure better able to meet the needs of local policing.
“It has been a long time coming, and I know the members, the office support staff, and the community, are really happy that we are all now under one roof instead of being split between a small detachment in Coaldale at the Town Office, and over in Lethbridge on Stafford Drive there. It’s really a welcome sight with a bright, new, modern building with lots of room and all the things we need to do our jobs.”
Neuman says the building on Stafford Drive will remain in the hands of the RCMP for now while its property managers consider what to do with the aging structure.
“The life-expectancy of that building in Lethbridge had long-expired, and it was in bad condition,” he states.
Crowson says the normal process for determining the fate of Crown land like the detachment building on Stafford Drive sits on is for it to pass through a multi-level government needs assessment process which may or may not result in it eventually being turned over to the City of Lethbridge.
“How it works is the federal government always has first dibs if another department or somebody in the federal government required it,” she explains. “They would have first dibs, and then it would go to the province. And if the province doesn’t want it, then they look to the municipality.”

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it had to happen…what with the library kitty corner and the new bus “shelter” across the street, too, what we have is another business forced to succumb to street crime in the area. 🙂


Now the city can use it for a “temporary” dry(?)shelter .