Putting More Boots on the Ground
Prince George, B.C.- Staffing issues continue to plague the Prince George Detachment of the RCMP.
On paper, the P.G. Detachment is approved to have 135 officers says Superintendent Warren Brown, but because of attrition, transfers or officers being on maternity , paternity or other medical leaves, the detachment has no where near that number “Right now we are at an all time low for boots on the road ” says Supt. Brown. There were just 112 officers available for duty last month.
“We do have a staffing plan to get people here” says Supt. Brown “But because of house sales in other communities going slow, (because of ) a downturn in the economy, we are just having a difficult time in attracting people here.”
Supt. Brown says the local detachment is “challenged” to meet the base requirement for the number of officers that are supposed to be on any one shift “There have been very few days go by where we are not calling in additional resources so those who are members who are on days off, we have frozen leave this summer as well, however because of our shortages we have had to freeze that when there are planned events so it’s a challenge daily, but we are meeting our very minimum requirements right now.”
When the local RCMP detachment pressed the City to increase its staffing numbers, there were hopes expressed that increased numbers would reduce the overtime being paid that’s not likely to happen, although that overtime bill should be offset somewhat by the decreased wages the detachment is paying. “There’s a lot of things we can’t predict” says Supt. Brown “We have some people off on maternity leave, and the male officers are entitled to be off on paternity leave. We have some off on medical leave right now, and there are some who are moving because of promotions. Those are the peaks and valleys of where we are now.”
Supt. Brown remains optimistic “Hopefully by the fall we will be back up to where we need to be.”