RCMP seeking $640K extra

The job of getting criminals off city streets is anticipated to get pricier. The Red Deer city RCMP is seeking nearly $640,000 in additional funds, on top of the city’s proposed policing budget of $5.3 million.

The job of getting criminals off city streets is anticipated to get pricier.

The Red Deer city RCMP is seeking nearly $640,000 in additional funds, on top of the city’s proposed policing budget of $5.3 million.

Supt. Brian Simpson provided a list of critical items for 2010 during Friday’s operational budget discussions at City Hall.

City council, which will have the final say next week on those extras.

The largest chunk of extra funding, $333,000, would cover the rising costs of the detachment’s 125 officers.

The detachment is also looking for just over $33,000 for bylaw vehicles, $35,000 for janitorial services and other similar services at the new RCMP headquarters in downtown Red Deer.

They are also seeking more than $13,300 for a .5 full-time equivalent clerk position, $74,700 for guard expenses and cell costs, and $150,000 for a crime prevention and policing strategy update and municipal policing study.

The city won’t be hiring any additional Mounties in 2010 in an effort to keep costs down during slower economic times.

Simpson said he was fine with that decision.

He told council that calls for RCMP totalled 40,258 in 2009 — down by 4,094 calls from 2008 when 44,352 calls were made. The number of investigation files also decreased by nearly 3,900. In 2009, there were 43,399 files compared with 47,267 the year previously.

The detachment filled a position in December for a diversity officer, who will forge relationships with Red Deer’s immigrant community.

Simpson said the clerk position is needed for inputting data regarding warrants for provincial tickets.

“A lot of people aren’t paying their fines like they used to,” said Simpson, who suspects the recession is a factor.

The guard costs will pay for additional employee hours and increased operating expenses. The detachment is handling more prisoners because the remand centre can no longer store them for free for the police.

But Simpson said the detachment noticed an actual drop of 240 prisoners in 2009 from 2008. Its total numbers last year were 3,192.

The detachment has also applied for $500,000 in provincial grants for a program to electronically monitor domestic violence offenders.

Simpson said this program would be new to the area.

The device gives specific data on where the offender can and cannot be.

“It gives greater accountability to the offender,” he said.

The RCMP also saw a reduction of $50,000 in its photo radar equipment contract for this year.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

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