‘Ridiculous amount of money’: Edmontonians react to police chief’s $340k salary

Edmonton police chief's salary draws criticism and raised eyebrows

By Sarah Chew

When Edmontonians were asked to guess how much the city’s chief of police made, some of the answers didn’t even come close.

While several believed EPS Chief Dale McFee made anywhere from $125,000 to $150,000 annually, the actual number is more than twice that.

The Edmonton Police Commission revealed in a report released earlier this week that McFee makes $340,000 per year.

McFee makes less than police chiefs in Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto, but considerably more than police chiefs in Winnipeg and Calgary.

“Cops are incredibly overpaid,” said Duncan Kinney, the editor of independent left-wing media project The Progress Report.

“A fresh-out-of-the-academy constable here in Edmonton starts at $71,000 a year, but they get above $100,000 a year very, very quick. And you need a high school diploma.”


The police commission made the salary public after Kinney resorted to a “freedom of information” request. He says that’s not acceptable.

“Especially when every other major Canadian city discloses what their police chief makes, as a matter of course, why is Edmonton and Calgary, why is Alberta so special that these things are a secret?” asked Kinney.

Calgary’s police chief in 2021 made between $244,000 and $299,000.

“You know it makes me think, and probably other citizens, well no wonder the chief of police is pushing for more money for the EPS budget – they have to be able to afford that kind of salary,” said Tom Engel, the chair of the Criminal Trial Lawyers’ Association policing committee.

Engel says he questions if Edmonton’s city council scrutinized Chief McFee’s salary at all.

“But there ought to be an open salary review process where people can contribute to it,” he said. “There has to be an open debate.

“I can say it shouldn’t be more than the premier of Alberta.”

CityNews spoke to Edmontonians to see what they thought of the police chief’s salary.

“That’s taxpayer money, and that’s a ridiculous amount of money to be taking from taxpayers,” said one Edmontonian

“As a tax payer, I’ve seen our money being used in worse ways,” said another.

One couple supported the amount.

“We need more police out there. But that means more taxes,” said the husband.

His wife agreed: “I mean, we need our police. So let’s keep our police.”

In an emailed statement, the police commission says experience in the field, skill sets and the salaries of other city chiefs were taken into consideration when negotiating McFee’s salary.

Here’s what other police chiefs across Canada made in 2021:

  • Calgary: between $244,000 and $299,000
  • Winnipeg: $292,000
  • Toronto: $357,000
  • Ottawa: $359,000
  • Vancouver: $378,000

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