More officers on the way?

The Oliver RCMP may be getting more police officers to deal with an increased workload connected to the new Okanagan Correctional Centre.

South Okanagan Regional Detachment commander Supt. Ted De Jager told Penticton council Tuesday he’s in the process of applying for two more provincially funded officers for rural areas.

“This has been in the works for some time, well before I arrived,” he told Castanet in an email Wednesday. “Resources are analyzed on a regular basis and even adjusted regionally as appropriate.”

“Following that, there is a request for additional members which is where we are now.”

Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes said he met with B.C. RCMP commander Brenda Butterworth-Carr in September at the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention in Vancouver.

“We had more than our 15 minutes down there, we had a meeting and she said she’s approved the business case as well. It’s just up to the province now,” Hovanes said.

The Mayor added that the town is “hanging very dearly” onto a letter of commitment from the province from prior to OCC opening stating any increased cost in policing would be covered by the province.

“We’ve been offered assurances,” he said. “And we’ve been monitoring the caseload at the corrections centre, which hasn’t been huge, but there definitely has been an impact.”

“I think everyone's been keeping an eye on what's happening.”

Looking at the bigger picture, Hovanes was adamant the new prison has had “no negative impact at all” on Oliver.

“It's had nothing but a positive impact in terms of employment, school enrolment,” he said “It brought a lot of good people to the community that are working out there.”

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