SASKATOON -- Saskatoon needs more police officers, but for now re-assigning shifts will be temporary solution, the Saskatoon Police Association says.
“Our city is growing,” communications officer David Larocque said.
“It just stands to reason that with an increase in population you need more police officers.”
After the record breaking 14th homicide of the year an emergency clause was put into effect to reassign officers and to change hours in an effort to see more police on the front lines.
Chief Troy Cooper acknowledged the recent increase in crime.
“We had a couple of weekends where we had really serious events occur. When we called staff out it was difficult to find the appropriate number of staff available.”
Larocque said the latest homicide possibly was “a tipping point” but also that talks have been in place for years to address the growing concern of violent crime as the city grows.
This year has seen not just an increase in calls, but an increase in calls regarding violent crimes, and a “high percentage” of the calls for violent crimes are random in nature, Larocque said.
The emergency clause may see more officers responding to calls, but it could also lead to more burnouts from overworked officers, Larocque said. Talks are in place to increase the number of officers, Larocque said, but that means an increase in the police budget.
Cooper said there’s a request for a psychologist in their budget as part of their mental health plan.
“It’s really important to make sure that not only are staff available to us but that they are healthy and were not damaging them by what they’re exposed to at work.”