Saskatoon

Saskatoon police seeking $4.1M more for budget as operating costs rise

The Saskatoon Police Service will table its 2019 preliminary operating budget this week, and it is calling for an increase of just over $4.1 million.

Police looking to make 10 new hires at a cost of nearly $1M

The Saskatoon Police Service will present its 2019 preliminary operating budget this week. (Trevor Bothorel/CBC)

The Saskatoon Police Service will table its 2019 preliminary operating budget this week, and it is calling for an increase of just over $4.1 million.

The budget document suggests that a majority of the requested increase, just over $3.1 million, is needed to "maintain existing service levels and deal with the impact of rising staff compensation costs, inflation and changing program needs."   

In June, the Saskatoon Police Association and the Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners ratified a retroactive collective agreement covering three years from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2019. Over the course of the agreement, police salaries increase by 6.5 per cent.

Police are also asking for permission to hire 10 new employees, at a cost of nearly $1 million.

Saskatoon police chief Troy Cooper is asking for a budget increase of $4.1 million to maintain the status quo and to add 10 new employees. (Lise Ouangari)

Budget to be presented this week

The budget document, forwarded by Chief of Police Troy Cooper suggested that service levels changes are intended to focus on "enforcement related to the root causes of crime."

In that spirit, seven of the 10 requested new hires would be directly related to law enforcement.

At the same time Cooper suggested that "a new way of thinking includes using lower cost, yet capable staff members to help with analysis, freeing up officers where their talents can be better utilized." One example cited would be a proposed hiring of a dedicated crash analyst.

Council has the final say 

The preliminary police operating budget of $94.6 million will be presented Thursday to the Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners for approval.

Ultimately though, city council has the final say on the police budget.

That decision comes as council deliberates the city's overall operating budget in the coming months.       

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