Kamloops sheriffs helping Victoria with 'crisis' shortage in courthouse
Ashley Legassic - Reporter
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO/ iNFOnews.ca
March 14, 2017 - 11:44 AM
KAMLOOPS - Deputy sheriffs in Kamloops have begun travelling to Victoria in hopes of mitigating the sheriff shortage on Vancouver Island.
In a news release, the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union says Kamloops sheriffs could be in Victoria for up to six months.
"As a result of the ongoing sheriff shortage, Kamloops Sheriff Services has begun flying deputy sheriffs to the Victoria courthouse on Sundays for overtime, taking care of their meals and accommodation," the release says.
BCGEU says it's been made aware that Vancouver deputy sheriffs are also being requested to work at the Victoria courthouse. According to the release, B.C. Sheriff Service is asking for a commitment of two to four weeks for full-time and part-time deputy sheriffs. Vice-president of corrections and sheriff services Dean Purdy says BCGEU hasn't been contacted by B.C. Court Services yet.
“Quite frankly, we are surprised that B.C. Court Services hasn’t yet contacted BCGEU for our recommendations,” Purdy says in the release. “Not only are there significant costs attached to this, but what potential consequences will there be for the other courthouses?”
The release says the provincial government hasn't adequately addressed the sheriff shortage in B.C. It says between 2012 and 2016, 126 deputy sheriffs were hired, but 146 left during the time period for a net loss of 20 sheriffs.
“Hiring without initiatives to retain sheriffs will not get the government out of this crisis,” Purdy says. “They need to address the wage gap between sheriffs and other law enforcement agencies. Once sheriffs are trained up, they move over to other, higher paying law enforcement jobs.”
The release points out that court cases have been tossed due to the shortage in Victoria. Last month an accused drug dealer walked free because a sheriff wasn't available to monitor courtrooms during trial.
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