City of Kamloops on board for more RCMP officers | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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City of Kamloops on board for more RCMP officers

December 05, 2017 - 5:06 PM

KAMLOOPS - City councillors acknowledged a hectic past two months for police in Kamloops, with several serious incidents taking place across the city by endorsing a request for more RCMP officers.

Kamloops RCMP Supt. Brad Mueller got the thumbs up at Kamloops City Council today, Dec. 5 after he explained complex RCMP hiring issues.

All eight members of council and Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian agreed to add roughly another $1 million to the budget to fund 136 officers over three years.

But this is the complicated part: No one expects 136 officers in Kamloops any time soon. The RCMP has been under-resourced for years and that's had a serious impact on the Kamloops detachment. Officers on leaves for maternity or illness or even vacation are not backfilled by the force so while Kamloops is currently on the books to fund 129 officers for the last two years, it has never gotten above 120 'roadable' officers.

Mueller said the stretched resources due to vacancies impacts public safety, officer safety, and the well-being of officers.

Increasing that total to 136 should provide the city enough leverage to get to the 130 officers it definitely needs but Kamloops has competition from cities and regions around the country looking for every body available. 

Mueller says the additional officers are needed in the city as soon as possible.

The funding for the officers, estimated at approximately $1 million over three years, would come from increased property taxes.

Councillors were concerned over the amount of overtime the detachment will have spent by the end of this year, totalling approximately $1.5 million.

“I haven’t had an opportunity to publicly express… our confidence in your revision of the detachment and our confidence in the women and men that are under your command,” Christian told Mueller. “Your report is very sobering.”

It was a sentiment echoed by the other members of council, especially with the violent and high-risk incidents police have had to deal with over the past two months, many including firearms.

One of the latest high-risk incidents for officers in the city was when a suspect vehicle rammed a police cruiser last month.

With the ongoing opioid crisis across the province, Mueller said police have been pressured to respond to more social issue calls which has been chewing up already tight resources, leaving little breathing room for proactive actions from officers.

— This story was updated at 7:06 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5, to clarify Supt. Mueller's position on when the officers should come in.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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