The Vernon RCMP detachment is looking to hire an exhibit custodian to deal with a backlog of 1,600 incomplete files.
In a report to council, the RCMP requested $85,000 in funding to be used to hire a temporary exhibit custodian to address “an increased exhibit file backlog, evolving exhibit handling processes and new federal regulations for seized firearms being held by police.”
Council unanimously supported the request at its regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 11.
Of the 1,600 incomplete files, 800 require attention in the near future.
The exhibit custodian would be responsible for the safe keeping and storage of all seized property and would preserve continuity of evidence in order to support court prosecutions. The custodian would be in charge of controlling the movement, storage, disposition and destruction of exhibits, as well as monitoring exhibit documentation for accuracy and adherence to criminal law and RCMP policies.
“The exhibit custodian responds to inquiries from the general public and returns seized property at the direction of the investigator,” the report states.
The custodian would also conduct ongoing quality assurance audits on files containing exhibits and make recommendations for training and providing education to RCMP members.
The report notes that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find the time to complete reviews to improve best practices or to provide training to police.
The report says the backlog of 1,600 files is due to a capacity deficit.
“There has been changes to the processes for exhibits held for destruction, new registration databases for firearms seized by police and the requirement to carefully process high potency drugs like fentanyl for destruction. These increasing duties and responsibilities have led to quality assurance work being left undone as there simply isn’t the capacity to complete all of the required tasks in the course of the day with only one person,” the report states.
The temporary position would be in place for 12 months. City administration is recommending that the $85,000 in funding be drawn from the RCMP Contingency Reserve, which has a projected year end balance of more than $2 million.