All Vernon councillor Scott Anderson wanted from an original motion he made in June was for the city to investigate how much it would cost to add a private security firm to seasonal overnight patrols, to help observe, record and report incidents to the RCMP.
Two months later, Anderson and council still don’t have that answer.
Council rejected one of three proposed options offered up by city manager of protective services Geoff Gaucher, each option supported hiring more bylaw officers.
“I thought this might be a good opportunity to look at a couple of other options, specifically the use of several bylaw compliance officers versus a security firm,” said Gaucher.
“Based on the fact that bylaw compliance works hand-in-hand with the RCMP, there’s coverage for about 16 hours a day and they deal with the street-entrenched folks or folks causing problems.”
Gaucher’s reply did not sit well with Anderson.
“I found this process very frustrating,” he said, kicking off a nearly 30-minute debate on the report. “I made a motion specifically in regards to private security…Our motion specifically asked for private security costs. What we got is solutions that completely ignored that.”
Anderson said his initial intent on the motion was to “get more eyes and more boots on the ground.”
“Bylaw can’t enforce the law and neither can private security but all of them can report to the RCMP when they see a crime being committed,” said Anderson. “It also acts as a deterrent.”
Anderson received support from Couns. Kari Gares and Brian Quiring.
“Our motion was very specific. We asked for costs with regards to private security. We didn’t get that,” said Gares. “I’m not discrediting what’s here, but we didn’t get what we asked for. Our job as council is to look at both sides of the same coin. Make an informed decision. I can’t do that based on what I have here.”
Quiring said he was in favour of a fourth option in Gaucher’s report, putting out a call for request for quotes for a contracted private security company to conduct seasonal supplementation.
“This is one of those situations where potentially, for a limited period of time, the private sector might do a better job than us. Simple as that, and I want to see what that looks like,” said Quiring. “We’d like to see how private security works, take it for a test drive and see if the numbers work.”
Council voted unanimously on the fourth option of procuring requests for quotes.