Victoria Police Chief Del Manak announcing that school liaison officers and three others will be reassigned to frontline duties after the department was unable to secure more funding for new officers in this year’s budget from the Township of Esquimalt. Arnold Lim/BLACK PRESS

VicPD cuts school liaison program over budget impasse with Esquimalt

Six officers, including three school liaisons, to be reassigned to frontline duties

Lack of new funding for officers from the Township of Esquimalt has prompted the Victoria Police Department to cut some valuable community resource positions.

Chief Const. Del Manak announced Wednesday that all three school liaison constables, one analysis and intelligence specialist, a Reserve program constable and a Community Services Division beat constable are being reassigned to frontline duties.

“My preference is to not reallocate any positions and to continue providing the full range of policing services that our citizens expect,” Manak said in a release. “However, the demands placed on our frontline officers require us to take action now. Citizens expect that when they call 911, an officer will arrive to help them within a short period of time. Without this change, we cannot maintain that basic level of service.”

The City of Victoria approved the department’s budget requests, while the Township did not, according to department spokesperson Bowen Osoko.

Not only will the redeployment eliminate the school liaison role entirely, it halves the department’s analysis and Intelligence capacity and forces a restructuring of the Reserve Constable Program.

Four officers will be moved to the Patrol Division, while two will be moved to the Alternate Response Unit (ARU). The ARU provides immediate response by taking lower priority calls for service over the phone, reducing the need to physically dispatch an officer to these calls while improving call response times for citizens.

The department has not received funding to hire new officers for eight years, according to Manak, but the demands on officers have increased significantly.

The changes are expected to take place by the end of June.

editor@vicnews.com

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