Kitchener-Waterloo

COVID-19 costs Waterloo Regional Police $443K, report says

The COVID-19 pandemic has cost the Waterloo Regional Police Service $443,000 as of March 28, according to a report presented to the Police Services Board on Wednesday.

Costs include work-from-home equipment, redeployment, overtime and personal protective equipment

Waterloo Regional Police Service Chief Bryan Larkin says it's important to assess the financial strain and savings of the COVID-19 pandemic for the police service. (Teghan Beaudette/CBC)

The pandemic has cost the Waterloo Regional Police Service $443,000 as of March 28, according to a report presented to the Police Services Board on Wednesday.

The report breaks down the total amount into direct and indirect costs. Direct costs, which come in at $334,000, include work-from-home equipment, overtime and personal protective equipment supplies.

Indirect costs, which total $109,000, include compensation for members being redeployed to an Emergency Operations Centre as well as members being paid but unable to work because of self-isolation. 

The cost overruns aren't enough "to cause a deficit overall in our 2020 operating budget" according to Kirsten Hand, the director of the police finance unit.

'Look for opportunities'

Police Chief Bryan Larkin told the board he thinks it's important to assess both the financial strain and savings of the outbreak. Savings include the elimination of non-essential travel and training, the report says.  

"These are very challenging times, challenging times for our police service, but they also present opportunities," Larkin said. "We also have to look for opportunities to change the way we do business."

In 2019, Waterloo regional council had asked the police services board to trim its 2020 budget. Larkin said he was determined to squeeze the lemon even tighter. Council passed the police budget in January with a 1.38 per cent regional tax increase

The report says the police finance unit will continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 throughout 2020 and will report back to the board next month.

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