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What makes policing so expensive in Kamloops

November 30, 2018 - 3:31 PM

KAMLOOPS - Kamloops RCMP called for an increase of about $1.5 million for 2019 at the city hall budget meetings this week.

That increase would bring the total up to nearly $26.1 million, the city's largest expenditure.

A number of items contributed to the budget increase such as funding more police officers. There is room in the 2019 budget to hire three more police officers, bringing the total up to 130 RCMP in Kamloops.

There are also some technological upgrades that are meant to make policing more efficient such as dash cameras. Superintendent Syd Lecky told council that this would have helped in the Rose Hill police-related shooting investigation this year.

"We've made some changes and spent some money on a new WiseTrack system," Lecky said at the Nov. 27 budget meeting. The WiseTrack system is meant to track the whereabouts of police inventory.

"A lot of our equipment, as you can imagine— you need to know where they are at all times," Lecky said. "Because we're talking about firearms and various prohibited items... and I am happy to tell you that they are all acounted for."

Member salaries make up the largest chunk of the RCMP's expenditures this year at $2.65 million, some of which is paid for by the city's RCMP reserve. There are also a number of administrative costs associated with supporting officers including Victim Services, and other crime prevention services. Councillor Arjun Singh questioned Lecky as to why more police members are needed and if there were a more appropriate resource available.

"There are tremendous resources in Kamloops... We're trying to leverage those relationships," Lecky explains. "But as is always the case with policing we are the agency of last resort... There are a lot of other things that contribute to the need of additional police officers."

Councillor Mike O'Reilly suggested looking into training bylaw officers as special provincial constables so they can enforce criminal law.

Protective services director Byron McCorkell replied that they were looking into creating a "Bylaw II" position so they are able to do more direct enforcement, but will be "watching what other communities do" with respect to the "Bylaw III" position which would be akin to O'Reilly's suggestion.

Police also may receive revenue from holding provincial prisoners, but Lecky and municipal support manager, Jodie MacDonald, agreed that it is not the best option.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shelby Thevenot or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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