Staffing a challenge for Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP

Ensuring shifts are filled has been a challenge at the Vernon/North Okanagan detachment.

Ensuring shifts are filled has been a challenge at the Vernon/North Okanagan detachment.

During the first three months of 2013, serious injuries and illness meant the detachment was down an average of 23 to 27 officers. Full complement is 101 officers.

“The entire detachment is struggling right now,” said Supt. Reg Burgess, the officer in charge.

“In April, we were down 28 officers and that put us in the position where we had to take some plain clothes officers and put them on to the watches.”

A downtown unit officer was also moved to the  domestic violence unit.

Presently, there are 23 fewer officers at the detachment.

“The prognosis for May is good,” said Burgess.

“Six officers are to be transferred in or back from health issues. When we are down with that many injuries, it impacts our abilities.”

Another matter that Burgess is monitoring is the possibility of a large number of retirements in the next few years.

“We do have a senior force with many officers ready to depart,” he said.

“Crime is going down and the demand for officers is going down so it may all work out.”