January 28, 2015 - 2:31 PM
KELOWNA - Six new RCMP officers will join the ranks of the Kelowna RCMP this year, likely just in time for the summer tourist crush.
“Four of the new officers will be front-line general duty policing officers,“ said Supt. Nick Romanchuk, while one officer will be assigned to child abuse investigations and another to civilian complaints and internal discipline as a professional standards investigator.
Of the latest deployment of officers, three were the last of 15 hired under the recommendations of the 2012 Prosser report which found the Kelowna detachment to be severely understaffed as measured by the caseloads officers were carrying.
Romanchuk said the other three officers were hired to deal with population growth in the Central Okanagan since the report came out.
The Kelowna detachment currently has 167 officers. The bulk of the new officers hired since 2012 were positioned as plain clothes investigative officers, Romanchuk said. Others filled supervisory roles as will one of the new hires, he added.
“We have to maintain a supervisory and management structure to effectively deal with these new officers,” he said. “So of the six, one will be a seargeant and five will be constables.”
The superintendent said the latest round of hires will bring the detachment’s ratio of officers to population close to the desired ratio.
“We’re looking for around 1 to 840 population, give or take,” he said. “That’s a number we like to maintain.”
Romanchuk said there is no hard formula that governs the ratio of population to officers and that only city council can make a decision about hiring new officers.
“It would be assessed on an annual basis,” he said. “We can make the request, but they don’t have to fill it.”
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