Councillor Jack Gilroy.
Councillor Jack Gilroy.

Vernon investigates municipal policing

by - Story: 56056

Escalating costs associated with the RCMP has prompted Vernon City Council to investigate a municipal police force.

A report should be ready for council very shortly.

Councillor Jack Gilroy says the city will do a study on costs paid by other cities in the province who have a municipal police force.

However, Gilroy cautions residents that this does not mean the city is unhappy with the job the RCMP has been doing.

"We're very happy with the RCMP, it's just that the city is getting tired of paying all the costs for everything," says Gilroy.

"Not just the RCMP but the civic employees are paid for by the City of Vernon and no one seems to want to assist us in all the employees we have to hire to keep the RCMP going."

The City of Vernon currently pays 90 per cent of policing costs while the province picks up the other 10%.

Vernon also hires all the support staff for the RCMP.

"No one seems to want to give us any money for that. We do that for the whole North Okanagan."

Gilroy says the new RCMP contract, due to come into affect in 2012 will put a real strain on the Vernon budget.

"The last time I was at talks in Vancouver they showed us a scale and if we sign that contract in 2012 the way it is now our entire budgets in six or seven years will go strictly to the RCMP. We won't be able to do anything else."

He says the province seems to be getting the message but adds the feds are the ones stuck on the 90/10 split, something he says the cities simply can't afford anymore.

While the city is investigating costs, Gilroy reiterates that council is not unhappy with the performance of the local RCMP.

"We don't want to lose them because they are our Canadian Police Force but we have to put a handle on the taxes."

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