VERNON - Vernon’s mayor continues to stress his confidence in the RCMP, although he admits he doesn’t have all the details about how the detachment does business.
Following a report by iNFOnews.ca that front line police officers are understaffed and forced to ‘risk it out’ on watch shifts, Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund affirmed his full confidence in the RCMP and said in a media release the report contained misinformation about staffing levels.
In an interview after the city released its statement, Mund said he did not know what minimum staffing levels are for city watches or what levels they normally operate at. He said he 'believed' it was clarified that watches do not run as low as two officers. The report by iNFOnews.ca indicated watches have, at times, fallen as low as three to five officers.
When asked if he would look into the concerns raised in the report, he acknowledged he would be in touch with Supt. Jim McNamara.
“We’ll have a discussion with the superintendent and just see what he has to say,” Mund said. “Obviously, we don’t mandate what the RCMP does. We can ask the questions. If we’re allowed to share, we’ll share. If not, for privacy reasons, we won't.”
As of Thursday, Dec. 8, Mund said he had not yet discussed it with the superintendent.
“As far as I know, everything is running well,” Mund said. “If there was a concern I’m sure the superintendent and inspector would voice those concerns to the city. I’m not worried about the amount of officers we have out there right now.”
Supt. McNamara says there are currently 57 officers in the city’s 56 established positions, however due to illness, injuries and administrative leave, the bill is for 48 officers. He said the detachment is working towards the 50 positions funded by the city.
“If the city is being billed for 48 it means that on average we've had 48 roadable officers providing operational police services to the City of Vernon,” McNamara said.
It is unknown how many of the 48 are general duty officers working the watches.
McNamara said the detachment can also redeploy officers from around its five detachment areas as required and watch commanders can call in overtime resources. He does not believe chronic understaffing is leaving police officers or the public in danger.
MORE ON THIS TOPIC
'RISK IT OUT': Chronic RCMP understaffing leaving Vernon cops in danger
Vernon mayor affirms confidence in RCMP following iNFOnews.ca report
RISK IT OUT: How police understaffing impacts officers, communities and crime
Vernon RCMP Supt. responds to 'RISK IT OUT'
Editor's Note in response to allegations from Vernon RCMP Supt. Jim McNamara
RISK IT OUT: Chronic understaffing a longstanding challenge at Vernon RCMP detachment
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