Police push for more officers
City police want to take advantage of provincial subsidy and hire 15 officers

By Laura Stradiotto/The Sudbury Star
Local News - Tuesday, November 09, 2004 @ 11:00

The Greater Sudbury Police Services Board will seek city council’s approval at the end of the month to hire 15 new officers in 2005.

If approved, Sudburians will see more police officers out in the community catching speeders, dealing with youth crime and having a stronger presence in the outlying areas, said Police Chief Ian Davidson.

On Monday, the police board approved a $35.3-million budget for 2005, a 5.8 per cent increase from 2004. The board was asked by council to submit a two-year budget and included is the 2006 estimated budget of $36.9 million.

Last month, the province announced it would hire 1,000 new officers in Ontario over the next three years and cover half the cost.

Davidson hopes to take advantage of that deal, which means the municipality will have to pay $456,613 in 2005 and then $664,773 in 2006 to cover half the officers’ salaries.

After reviewing its service delivery model, through community consultations and new changes in the law, it was determined that more officers were needed in Greater Sudbury, said Davidson.

Sudbury ranks fifth out of the five major Northern Ontario cities in the number of officers serving 100,000 citizens. If 15 officers are hired, that would only bring Sudbury’s ranking to fourth, said Davidson.

“We try to evolve and respond to community needs to the fullest extent possible,” he said.

“As well, we have to evolve to the legislative requirements, the changes in laws. “

For example, new programs such as the sex offender registry require full-time officers. Thirty officers who were once out patrolling the community have been placed in new programs such as cyber crimes and child pornography

Greater Sudbury communities have told police at public meetings that youth crime is a major concern.

“We’ve identified three areas where officers can work directly with youth in the high school, street criminal applications and drug applications.”

The city’s traffic unit is also relatively small for a large service area, said Davidson.

“At this time, we can’t even keep up with the number of demands we have from the public with respect to speeding in neighbourhoods.”

Six new officers will be committed to each outlying community. Davidson doesn’t expect the budget increase to have a significant impact on the tax levy.

Besides half the money being provided by the province, Davidson expects there will be extra traffic revenues generated from more officers on patrol.

Both city councillors who sit on the police board are optimistic council will approve the move.

Ward 1 Coun. Eldon Gainer said although the budget is “way more than anybody on council would like to see,” councillors can perhaps decide which of the 15 officers are necessary.

“I believe all councillors agree there aren’t enough officers,” said Ward 2 Coun. Ron Bradley. “I believe they’re going to buy it. It’s for the safety of our seniors and youth.”

Bradley said more police would represent a relatively small tax increase for Sudburians although he wasn’t sure how much. The police’s budget will be presented to council Nov. 29.

Here’s where the 15 new officers will go:

Cyber crime: one;

Youth officers: three, with one dedicated to 16 area high schools, one to drug unit and one to street crime;

Urban officers: five, with three dedicated to traffic enforcement responsibilities;

Community policing rural squad: six, with one officer designated to Levack,

Capreol, Walden/Copper Cliff, Rayside-Balfour, Valley East and Coniston.