File photo: Kelly Hayes
File photo: Kelly Hayes

Kelowna needs more cops

by - Story: 35910

If Kelowna's top cop gets his way, there will be eight new officers patrolling city streets by the Spring of 2008.

In his yearly budget proposal, RCMP Superintendent, Bill McKinnon has asked Council for eight officers to begin duty in May, 2008.

In the provisional budget, City Manager, Ron Mattiussi has identified six officers as a top priority, with the remaining two given a priority two rating.

The additional officers would give McKinnon two members for a Crime Reduction Target Team plus one member for each of the four General Duty Watches.

The members not on the top priority list were earmarked as a Domestic Violence Coordinator and an Organized Crime Coordinator.

The six new officers would come with a price tag of $478,800 for 2008 and $707,400 in 2009.

McKinnon has talked about the need for a Crime Reduction unit for more than a year.

He had hoped to receive the necessary manpower in the 2007 budget to establish a six member team, but received only two members.

The team was established, just not the size he had hoped for.

In October of 2006, McKinnon talked about the need to target prolific offenders.

McKinnon said at the time prolific offenders usually involve stolen autos, identity theft, fraud and break-and-enters.

"It's focusing on an individual instead of a crime. We're dealing with the same people who've been charged with stealing 20 vehicles and no sooner do we have them in court than they're back out again -- it's a vicious circle," says McKinnon.

In addition to the new members, McKinnon is also asking the City for an additional four Prime Reviewers.

He says with the launching of a new Prime Records Information Management Environment system (PRIME) in March, 2008, additional support is required for each Watch to review files and prioritize and direct police files for follow-up.

The provisional budget recommends hiring two of the four administrators requested.

Meantime, Kelowna Fire Chief, Rene Blanleil has asked City Council for an additional Fire Inspector in 2008.

Blanleil says the position will assist the Fire Prevention Branch in reaching 100% of the directed frequency of inspections on a yearly basis.

The position has been designated as a priority two.

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