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Okanagan municipality wants review of RCMP staffing system

February 15, 2017 - 6:30 PM

OKANAGAN - A municipality in the Okanagan wants to make sure it’s getting a fair deal when shelling out for extra police officers.

The City of West Kelowna is pursuing a review of the number of officers at integrated detachments —those made up of two or more municipal or provincial RCMP units — according to a draft resolution under the Southern Interior Local Government Association.

Some examples of integrated detachments in the area are the West Kelowna Integrated Detachment and the Vernon/North Okanagan Integrated Detachment.

Municipalities can increase the number of officer-funded positions, but according to the draft resolution “the number of provincially funded officers does not automatically change, possibly resulting in a potential imbalance and financial subsidy to provincial/rural areas by the municipalities.”

The City of West Kelowna wants the Union of B.C. Municipalities to lobby the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General to initiate a review of the number of provincial officers serving at an integrated detachment when municipalities increase funding to ensure both sides are being funded fairly.

In 2015, the most recent year figures are available from the provincial government, the West Kelowna Municipal Unit funded 23 officers, and the Kelowna Provincial Unit came with 15.

In at least two local communities, concerns exist around the number of officers available to respond to calls for service. In Vernon, sources say watch shifts fall dangerously low when there aren’t enough officers to cover shifts. In the South Okanagan, Keremeos politicians have expressed worry over low staffing levels and long response times.


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