Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson announced millions more dollars for new detention cells at Brandon police headquarters Friday — the latest in a string of recent promises focused on crime and public safety.
"Today's announcement caps a week of new initiatives and millions of dollars invested making our communities safer," Stefanson said.
"Our government will do whatever it takes to support our law enforcement personnel and our cities and communities with a crackdown on criminals and violent crime."
The money is to be used to build new permanent detention cells that will replace temporary modular ones. It will make for a safer environment for both officers and people being detained, Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said.
The project was first announced two years ago with an expected price tag of $4.4 million. The new cost announced Friday is $8.9 million, which the government attributed to inflation.
Brandon police welcomed the cash.
"We will be able to build a state-of-the-art facility here that will give both effective and safe housing for people that we have to detain," police Chief Wayne Balcaen said.
The building will be connected to a planned sobering assessment centre for publicly intoxicated people, Balcaen said, which will ease pressure on the health-care system.
Stefanson's recent focus on crime comes as the Progressive Conservative government continues to lag in opinion polls behind the Opposition New Democrats and with an election scheduled for next October.
She has already indicated crime will be one of the main topics of the throne speech on Nov. 15, which will outline the government's priorities for the year ahead.
Earlier this week, Stefanson announced $3 million for a new group of police officers dedicated to tracking down violent criminals including those wanted on arrest warrants. She also announced $300,000 for new equipment to help combat illegal night hunting.
— by Steve Lambert in Winnipeg.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2022.