Paul Pedersen, new Sudbury police chief, to tackle budget concerns
As Sudbury's police force faces financial challenges, Pedersen says budget issues are top-of-mind
Sudbury's incoming police chief says dealing with the finances of the police force will be near the top of his to-do list.
Paul Pedersen doesn't start for a few weeks, but was introduced at yesterday's police services board meeting.
A large number of Pedersen’s remarks to the board were about the financial challenges facing police forces. The 52-year-old said he expects that will be a big part of his job as Sudbury's next police chief.
"Whether it's cutting the budget or being transparent about the budget or being honest about the budget."
He said the main way to save is to realize that police officers can't do everything — especially when 85 per cent of calls last year were not related to crime.
"There are individuals and organizations out there that can do somethings better than us,” Pedersen said, citing changes to mental health services as an example.
"Hiring more police officers will never be the sole solution to community safety. Equally impractical is the notion that we can just reduce numbers and maintain service levels. Saying no, blindly voting against things is not always the answer."
But exactly how that would trim the $51-million police budget is unclear.
Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk has been critical of the rising cost of policing but said it seems the force is becoming more focused on being efficient.
"When I worked here, it wasn't like that. Police would come, bring their budget, that'd be it. It has over the last couple of years changed."
The policing bill has gone up $5 million since Matichuk became mayor.