Staffing shortfall diverts RCMP traffic unit

  • May. 13, 2011 7:00 a.m.

Manpower is under pressure at the Vernon RCMP detachment.

It’s expected the two officers designated for the municipal traffic unit will be placed on general duties for the summer because of a lack of staff.

“We need to keep our watches at minimal strength,” said Supt. Reg Burgess, adding that each shift must have at least nine members.

The city has capped funding for municipal officers and a report to council indicates that decision is beginning to strain resources and support units.

Because of transfers, maternity leaves and other personnel issues, the number of officers available is down.

New replacements have also been slow to come in to Vernon, while other officers are committed to a trial in Vernon.

“Our detachment currently has a total of nine officers who are not fully operational for various reasons,” said Burgess.

Burgess anticipates reassignment of the traffic unit will be short-term over the summer.

“The goal is to get them back to our enhanced (traffic) policing as soon as we can,” he said.

The provincial government has been asked to provide additional resources for the local detachment.

“Word is we’ll get none this year and we hope 2012 will be a better year,” said Burgess.

The province hasn’t provided assistance for officers in about eight years, and there has been minimal funding for support staff.

That is an issue Mayor Wayne Lippert believes needs to be a priority.

“We need their side to keep with ours,” he said of the government.