The Vancouver police issued a statement on Friday indicating that they're doing their bit to keep policing costs down. They recognize the extraordinary financial situation the City is in, and they're tightening their belts and nearly buckling (pun intended) under the weight of massive cuts.
But they'll get through.
Here are the easy to follow facts of how the VPD is saving the city fistfulls of dough, culled from their plain language press release:
- Their budget is increasing from $190 million for 2009 to $196 million for 2010;
- They have filled the 96 new officer positions created this year, but will not fill 35 vacancies when people retire or get fired for shooting crawling, unarmed people in the head (just kidding, you can't get fired for that), resulting in a net gain of only 61 new officers;
- As a result of these major cuts, there will be "an impact on the Department's ability to deliver the enhanced standards of service previously promised."
As the odds are good you wouldn't believe me if I told you that a $6m budget increase, along with a net increase of 61 officers over a 24 month period was being reported as a cutback that would impact service levels, here's the proof.
If you'd find it hard to imagine that any municipal government department would enjoy a multi million dollar budget increase, and then have the temerity to issue a press release calling it a cutback, the press release from the VPD is replicated below for your reading pleasure.
VPD 2010 BUDGET
DEPUTY CHIEF CONSTABLE BOB ROLLS
Recognizing the extraordinary budget situation faced by the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Police Department has agreed to a temporary decrease of 35 sworn members. This will be achieved not through layoffs, but solely through attrition and by increasing our participation with integrated policing units. These 35 vacancies are in addition to 20 civilian vacancies we are already holding.
Reducing the size of the Department by 35 sworn officers will not be possible all at once. Due to the unique staffing requirements of the Olympics and recent efforts to bring the Department to full strength, the reduction will be phased in as we progress through the year. This will mean 20 sworn positions will go unfilled in 2010. The full reductions will be possible in 2011.
It is important to note that the overall VPD budget will still increase from $190 million in 2009 to $196 million in 2010 and that we have achieved a net staffing increase of 61 sworn members out of the 96 approved by Council in 2008 after the Operational Review.
The primary effect of this budget reduction will be a postponement in implementing the roving Metro Teams. These Teams were approved by Council based on the Operational Review. Their purpose was to reduce response times across the City by placing additional members on the road during peak periods.
While these reductions in staffing will have an impact on the Department's ability to deliver the enhanced standards of service previously promised, the VPD will continue to provide a high level of service to the citizens of Vancouver.
It is noteworthy that we have experienced significant improvements in response times and crime stats over the last two years. We look forward to a continued economic recovery into the future and a realization of the full authorized staffing levels approved by Council from the Operational Review.
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