Vernon council vote again in 'frustrating' process to get cost of private security patrols - InfoNews

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Vernon council vote again in 'frustrating' process to get cost of private security patrols

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August 19, 2019 - 4:36 PM

VERNON - In a case of third time lucky, Vernon city council will be pushing ahead to obtain a quote for a private security company to patrol its downtown core overnight.

The motion passed unanimously at council's meeting today, Aug. 19, is the third time the politicians have voted for staff to prepare a report outlining the costs involved in hiring a private security company to run overnight security patrols on the city's downtown streets.

Coun. Scott Anderson originally put forward the motion for staff to look into the costs associated with hiring private security in June. City staff one month later asked for clarification on the motion, which caused heated debate and frustration over the time delays.

Today councillors were set to debate the cost but instead found three quotes for bylaw officers to do the seasonal patrols, not a quote from a private company as expected.

"I found this process very frustrating," Anderson told council.

Anderson read out a letter he said was from a private citizen.

"Staff do not run the city," Anderson quoted from the letter, before adding "I would not be that harsh."

Anderson pointed out it was impossible to debate using private security versus using bylaw officers as no cost estimates had been provided.

Council was told by staff there were processes to follow when it came to getting quotes from private companies.

If we can get a quote for a fence why can we not get a quote for a private security company, Anderson said.

Coun. Kari Gares said she personally had received a quote of $18,000 a month for three security guards to patrol nightly seven days a week.

"That is a fraction of the cost," she told council.

City staff had recommended using bylaw officers at a cost of almost $27,000 a month to patrol five nights a week.

"(The) private sector might be able to do a better job," Coun. Brian Quiring said. "Let's see what they can do."

While private security guards would not have the powers of bylaw officers, council was told they could "observe, record and report" to the RCMP.

Coun. Anderson said this would act as a deterrent, which was the goal of hiring private security.

After a lengthy conversation council voted for staff to supply a quote for private security, dismissing the administrations recommended option to spend $134,600 on employing two bylaw officers patrolling five nights a week from May to September.

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