Police chief addresses RDOS

Penticton RCMP Superintendent Kevin Hewco admitted to reporters outside the RDOS office, Thursday, that he may have fallen short regarding communications on community policing.

The statement, followed an in camera presentation at the RDOS board meeting on the matter.

"I dropped the ball a little on the communication piece," he said. "I have a big heart and I understand the stress."

There has been concern over both the community policing program and Crime Stoppers in recent months.

Regarding the former, it has been announced that Jim Porteous, the community policing coordinator was laid off by the city, with his contract concluding at the end of April.

Then two weeks ago, Al Sismey, regional Crime Stoppers coordinator for the South Okanagan Similkameen area, discussed his concerns during a presentation at an RDOS board meeting. It is the the RDOS, along with fund-raisers, that funds the community program.

In response to questioning by Mayor Garry Litke, also a board member, who asked if the program was at risk, he said he understood it was with the police wanting his position remarried with crime prevention. 

In his explanation of what was happening Thursday, Hewco said when he comes to a new place, he does an efficiency review, looking for areas of risk and redundancy.

"There's an expectation I'm going to manage public funds efficiently, and I take that role seriously," he said. "I was examining both and felt we could deliver the same programs at a lesser cost."

There will be continued support of both, with the vision being Mr. Sismey's position will take on some of the community policing duties.

But there will be a regular police officer involved in the community policing portfolio, he added.

Wes Hopkin, a city councillor and RDOS director, said he supports Supt. Hewco's management of the police department and thinks he is doing his best to ensure efficiency and that taxpayer dollars are used efficiently.

"Crime Stoppers and community policing are not in jeopardy and continue to be supported," he said.






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