City council has approved an increase to the 2018 city policing budget.
However, a request to add two more members to the detachment will be debated later this evening.
Council has approved a $26.4 million policing budget, up $873,510 from last year.
Two years ago RCMP Supt. Warren Brown was before council asking for seven additional RCMP members. Rather than approve all seven in one year, council approved three additional members in 2016, which became the downtown safety unit.
Last year council approved two new members. The new members were put into the Car 60 program, which is operated in conjunction with Northern Health.
“This year I’m before you requesting an addition two members, that would bring us up the seven we requested three years ago,” said Brown at the city’s budget meeting Monday. “These additional members would further support programs we have now to ensure safety in our community and the vulnerable.”
That would include, he added, the domestic violence unit that was created a year ago. Under the program two officers work with a community-based victim service program with the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
“We have also utilized a position from general duty to ensure there is care for the high number missing persons we have,” he said.
For 2017, overtime decreased by 40 per cent, even though there was a number of violent crimes, including murders, Brown said. Mental health, homelessness, and addictions continue to be the main drivers for service, he added, even though there has been an increase in some violent crimes, such as aggravated assault.
Council will deal with the request for more officers later this evening. Due to the amount of time for processing and filling the request for the additional members, should the be approved, it is estimated that these positions would be filled in September 2018. Based on 2018 forecasted costs, the cost for two additional members from September 2018-December 2018 would be $116,328. Annual costs after that, reflective of the 2018 forecasted costs, would amount to $348,983, according to budget documents.