The RCMP says sometimes staffing vacancies in larger detachments like Vernon are necessary to maintain public safety in other areas.
The comment comes after city administration said RCMP were “notorious” for not hiring the number of officers the city would like.
At a Nov. 14 special meeting, Vernon director of financial services Deborah Law presented council with three tax increase scenarios as part of larger city budget discussions. Scenario number two would use reserve funding for two additional RCMP members, rather than through taxation.
“The strategy here is the RCMP are notorious for not fulfilling their contract and getting us all of the number of members that we want,” said Law. “So the strategy is that we would reserve fund these until the RCMP can actually finally provide them on an ongoing basis.”
Staff Sgt. Kris Clark said RCMP continually assess vacancies across the province and prioritize them to avoid negative impacts to public safety.
“This could mean that a larger detachment, like Vernon, might run with a vacancy for a little longer so that a small detachment, which has less flexibility to absorb those vacancies, gets a resource sooner,” said Clark.
The RCMP says it will continue working with the City of Vernon to plan for, and staff, existing and future police officer positions.
Clark said proactive recruiting efforts are ongoing and have been successful. He said RCMP have noticed Mounties rejoining the force in B.C. because of the lifestyle and opportunities.
“Vernon is an attractive place to live and work for both new hires and experienced police officers,” said Clark.