Supt. applauds move to add three officers

Adding three more officers to the Red Deer city RCMP detachment will go along ways towards crime fighting on city streets, says Red Deer’s top cop.

Adding three more officers to the Red Deer city RCMP detachment will go along ways towards crime fighting on city streets, says Red Deer’s top cop.

Supt. Brian Simpson applauded city council’s decision on Friday to boost the detachment’s contingent by three, even though he didn’t officially request for more manpower in 2011.

“I really appreciate it because we are a busy detachment,” said Simpson on Monday.

The target date for the new hires is June, he added.

Simpson told news media during recent operational budget talks that he wasn’t seeking reinforcements in light of tight economic times.

He told council that if he could, he’d welcome 10 more officers on city streets — that request will still come in 2012.

He added that residents could expect slightly slower response times to non-emergent calls because levels were staying status quo.

Council decided to add more officers after Councillor Chris Stephan suggested that crime was a top public concern and that people would be willing to pay more in taxes to add officers.

“If we’re staying at the level, Supt. Simpson said we are going to be reactionary,” said Stephan during budget talks.

“That really troubles me, especially with the amount of drug trafficking in our community.”

His request for six more officers was defeated.

Councillor Dianne Wyntjes believed some public concern would be raised about response times of officers.

She asked for three more officers after hearing it would cost about $196,000 instead of $763,000 for six.

That motion was approved.

Stephan suggested as well that the city direct that any new officers be earmarked for foot patrol.

But Simpson said the detachment has priorities on who should be hired next, so these three won’t necessarily end up in foot patrol.

The detachment does have designated foot patrol with officers working about 40 hours a week in this area.

Sometimes they’re not walking the beat because they’re indoors doing investigations, he added.

Currently, the detachment has 134 officers.

A second photo radar vehicle was also approved by Red Deer city council.

The leased vehicle, photo radar equipment and operator salaries are expected cost the city $300,000, plus further internal costs of $10,000.

With traffic fine revenues estimated at $910,000 for 2011, the final payout to the city could be $600,000 if everyone paid their tickets.

Simpson anticipates the second photo radar vehicle could be operational in two or three months, once all the contracts are drawn up.

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