No Decision on RCMP Budget Boost Request
Prince George, B.C.- The Finance and Audit Committee has tasked administration with crunching the numbers to see what the financial impact would be to add 2 new RCMP officers to the local detachment.
The request follows the Prince George RCMP’s budget enhancement request to have funding increased for three officers in 2016, two more in 2017, and another 2 in 2018.
Supt. Warren Brown appeared before the City’s Finance and Audit committee today to lay his cards on the table, “If the community is content with a very high crime rate here, I am content to provide the same quality of policing which we have now” said Supt. Brown “But if we would like to come down to a crime rate I say is consistent with other communities in B.C. of our size, I cannot do it with the current workforce I have.”
Brown says he fully reviewed all the stats, the workforce, crime trends and priorities, before making the request. Yet, while saying 95% of the community is safe, “We do have a very vulnerable sector in this community”. Superintendent Brown says regardless of the efforts of past detachment commanders “We have continuously been overrepresented by crime in the community.” He says that is the way Prince George has been, and continues to be “I am looking at the most efficient way to fight crime with existing resources, but despite that, we are going to continue to face a high crime rate here.”
He says the local detachment racked up about $1.4 million in overtime in 2014, and while some committee members hoped to hear adding more officers would reduce that overtime bill, Supt. Brown cannot give that guarantee nor could he estimate how much might be saved.
An additional three officers next year, plus one admin position, would add about $500 thousand to the budget, but that is if all three officers arrived January 1st. It is more likely they would not be on stream until September.
The Finance and Audit Committee has asked staff to prepare a report that would lay out the budget impacts for hiring 2 officers and one admin person for next year, compared to the full request. Staff will also show how the full year of salary would impact the 2017 budget which called for another 2 officers to be brought on board.
That staff report is to be presented to Council on January 18th.
While the move today was not a full denial of his request, Sup. Brown says he is neither encouraged nor discouraged by the outcome of the meeting ” I am just not satisfied that I can make a difference in this community with what I have right now. I realize there are competing pressures here, I am very respectful of that, but I am not content with having a crime rate that we have in this community, and I need help.”