Budget constraints put pressure on Windsor police

Police salaries are climbing faster than any in the public sector and that has Windsor's police force doing the best they can with what they have.

Top cop says Windsor police won't be cutting service

Fredricks says holding the line at $67 million is getting tougher each year because of rising salaries. (CBC News)

Police salaries are climbing faster than any other in the public sector and that has Windsor’s police force doing the best with what they have.

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario says the total policing costs have grown across the province by more than $1 billion in the last decade.

However, Windsor’s chief of police, Al Frederick, says the department isn’t getting more money to keep up with ever increasing salaries.

Hundreds of officers patrol Windsor’s streets every day and for the past two years they’ve been doing it under budget limitations, according to Fredrick.

"There's a shift in manpower in that we're trying to always analyse and assess what can be done to save money," said Fredrick, who has a $67 million budget to work with.

He said balancing police work within that budget is getting tougher each year because of rising salaries.

Frederick said officers have multiple duties and responsibilities, and he thinks they're paid a fair wage for their work.

Shifting officers to where they are most needed is one method of reducing costs, according to Fredrick.  He added using more cadets lowers costs because they make less money.

Frederick went on to say hiring back retiring detectives in senior roles is no longer an option due to budget constraints.

An extreme example of how police finances can get into a bind is across the river in Detroit.  In the motor city, private businesses are stepping in to help out.

Companies like the Penske Group, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler gave $8 million worth of police cars and ambulances to save the city’s emergency services Thursday.

"This is the motor city and we shouldn’t have the worst looking police vehicles. They represent the city of Detroit," said Detroit chief of police James Craig.

The Detroit Police Department received 100 vehicles. Mayor Dave Bing said the city could not have paid for them.

"We did not have the money in our general fund to buy or lease these vehicles," said Bing. "When I went to these business partners they were opened minded and asked what we needed the most."

As for Fredrick, he said the donation of vehicles is an extreme example.

"It shows how bad finances can get," he said.

There has to be a balance somewhere, according to Fredrick, but he'll only take comprimises so far.

"At some point in time I’ll be at a cross roads where there's nothing more to do and I have to maintain and I won't be cutting services. That’s an absolute."