Vernon’s police force insists it’s dedicated to public safety, but that requires expanded resources.
While providing city council with an update on aggressive panhandling and other concerns downtown Monday, the RCMP made the pitch for two additional officers in the 2016 budget so the two-person downtown enforcement unit can be resurrected.
“The unit is extremely valuable to us,” said Sgt. Kara Triance.
Among the duties of the unit are providing a physical presence downtown, gathering information that may help with investigations and developing relationships with people downtown.
Each officer comes with a cost of about $165,000 a year, but Coun. Scott Anderson wants the expenditure added to the budget.
“We need to make the city as safe as possible,” he said.
Currently, there are foot patrols downtown, with the primary focus being 30th Avenue.
“Police officers are taking action as required,” said Triance of enforcing the law.
“We have a safe downtown. I frequent downtown with my family and I’m committed to policing that area.”
Triance’s presentation was embraced by civic leaders.
“The community needs to know that the city and police are on it (safety) and taking a proactive approach,” said Coun. Dalvir Nahal.
Coun. Juliette Cunningham believes that enforcement is not always the appropriate response when dealing with people.
“I appreciate the compassion seen from the RCMP,” she said.