New Brunswick

Proposed budget calls for 14 more Codiac RCMP officers by 2022

Codiac Regional RCMP plans to add 14 officers by 2022 to deal with short-staffing, overtime costs and rising crime rates, according to a proposed budget. 

Increase raises budget concerns in Riverview

Riverview Mayor Ann Seamans says the town will have to assess the impact of the additional Mounties on its budget. (Pierre Fournier/CBC)

Codiac Regional RCMP plans to add 14 officers by 2022 to deal with short-staffing, overtime costs and rising crime rates, according to a proposed budget. 

The proposed jump in Mountie numbers patrolling Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview — from 143 this year to 157 in 2022 — has raised concerns about climbing policing costs. 

Riverview Mayor Ann Seamans said in an interview she understands why the increase in officers is necessary but worries about its cost to the town. 

"It's something that we as a team have to look at very closely at budget time because it's going to affect our bottom line on projects that we have planned for the next 10 years," Seamans said in an interview. 

"We will have to look very closely at these numbers and considering what we're planning on doing in the future."

A collision between a car and a fuel delivery truck in Hampton Friday morning has left a 66-year-old Saint John man dead, RCMP said. (Shane Magee/CBC file)

Colin Smith, Riverview's chief administrative officer, told councillors last week that policing costs will "dramatically increase compared to the overall budget."

Annual town spending on policing could rise to close to $5 million about from about $3.3 million once the new building is factored in, Smith said. The town's total 2019 budget was $44.6 million.

Codiac's budget is funded by Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview through the Codiac Regional Policing Authority. 

Moncton pays 70 per cent, Dieppe 18 per cent and Riverview 11 per cent. The percentage is set by a formula that accounts for population, municipal tax base and the number of calls for service in each community.

The increase to 157 officers by 2022 represents a 9.7 per cent increase after a decade in which numbers remained around 140 as the region's population climbed. 

While the force has a budget for 143 members, for various reasons not all are available.

Numbers outlined at the Riverview council meeting indicate that an average of about 10.6 member are off on sick leave over the last two years. That brings the number of officers available under 132. 

Charles Léger, chair of the Codiac Regional Policing Authority and a Moncton city councillor, says the additional members will help deal with staff shortages. (Shane Magee/CBC)

"There are a lot of pressure is related to being able to fill the positions on shifts and so this is an attempt at making sure that the complement of the RCMP here in Codiac is at a an acceptable level," Charles Léger, chair of the policing authority and a Moncton city councillor, said in an interview. 

In addition, the presentation shows an average of 4.5 officers are out on training, four positions vacant and six officers tasked to specialized units.

It's led to a number of shifts that aren't meeting a minimum number of staff. In 2018, 15 per cent of shifts didn't meet the minimum threshold. That increased in the first half of 2019 to 25 per cent. 

To fill those shifts, some officers are brought in and paid overtime. 

The budget documents presented to Riverview council indicate overtime spending hit a record of $1.4 million in 2018. In turn, the 2020 budget has increased the overtime budget from $850,000 to $1.34 million. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shane Magee

Reporter

Shane Magee is a Moncton-based reporter for CBC. He can be reached at shane.magee@cbc.ca.

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