NPD Requests Budget Increase for Additional Officers
The Nelson Police Department is seeking a 6.45% budget increase from the City and the need for additional officers is front of mind.
A presentation to City Council heard that Nelson has the second highest crime rate, call volume and charge approvals per capita in BC, but staff is stretched to keep up with demand.
“I would say at the top end we’ve gotten back to 14 (officers) or 15 out of the 21, so we were down to half of the 50% level through the summer and we’ve gotten back to 65%, 70%....” explains Chief Donovan Fisher “….We don’t have a lot of room to hire anybody else at the moment but we do have people that are still off for various reasons.”
The presentation states that this past year’s officer shortage costed $276,500.
The Police Chief explains how this is impacting NPD’s performance:
“There’s a limited capacity for crime reduction, working towards the goals of strategic plans, of the city’s priorities and we do not have the capacity at this point to send officer’s on all the mandatory training, let alone training to improve the department’s investigative scope and skill level.”
“We have brought trainers in from the coast because it’s far more efficient to pay for two trainers to come up here and train six, seven (or) eight people…. If we can get a couple RCMP officers in on it too then it’s to their benefit and we feel like we’re contributing back to them a little bit at the same time for the help they’ve given us.”
In addition, 30% of NPD officers are in retiring service range as of next year.
The Police Chief hops to fund two additional officer positions with staggered start dates next year.
Nelson saw a 17% increase in call volume this year, which Fisher partly attributes to decriminalization.
City Council forwarded the request to budget deliberations.