Vernon plan for patrol once again missed the mark: Councillor - InfoNews

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Vernon plan for patrol once again missed the mark: Councillor

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August 16, 2019 - 5:00 PM

VERNON – A year after the idea was first discussed, Vernon council is set to debate whether to spend $135,000 on overnight security patrols in the city's downtown core, but that might not be what council asked for.

The motion to be debated at the City of Vernon's council meeting Aug. 19, was put forward by councillor Scott Anderson, who asked staff to prepare costs for hiring private security in the downtown core.

However Vernon staff didn't do that. They recommend using city employed bylaw officers and does not list an estimated cost for hiring private security staff.

"The motion specifically asked for private security," coun. Anderson told "It doesn't achieve what my intention was in bringing this forward."

Coun. Anderson's motion originally put forward in June caused heated debate when staff one month later asked for more clarity on the motion.

Now, one month after the motion to explore costs for private security was put forward for a second time, the report does not give an estimate for the cost of private security.

Instead, the report lists three options, all using bylaw officers and varying in costs from $66,000 to $185,000. The patrols would take place from May to September and see bylaw officers work 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shifts. City staff recommend using two bylaw officers and two vehicles patrolling five nights a week at the cost of $134,600.

The report recommends using current bylaw staff for the “best, cost-effective level of enforcement and deterrence.” It says private security would have no authority to enforce bylaw violations and points out bylaw officers have a "established rapport with RCMP."

"I understand the rationale, (but) I think we missed the mark," Anderson said. "They're not going out to enforce bylaws, that's not the intention here. The intention is to put more eyes and boots on the street."

Anderson suggested private security would patrol neighbourhoods to "let people know we are watching and we are not going to put up with the petty crime anymore."

Anderson said he would bring the matter to staff during Monday's council meeting and vote for the "the most I can get."

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