Victoria Police Chief Cons. Del Manak said schools are missing a valuable resource without school liaison officers. Arnold Lim/BLACK PRESS

VicPD seeks provincial review of need for more officers in wake of budget rejection

Esquimalt’s decline of its portion led to removal of school liaison officers

The Victoria Police Department is waiting on the province to assess if six more police officers are necessary, after two requests for an increased budget for the roles were denied by Esquimalt.

The City of Victoria and Township of Esquimalt both fund VicPD. In budget presentations in January, Chief Const. Del Manak put in requests totalling $642,000 to hire six officers and two civilian staff, noting that deparment staff hadn’t increased in eight years. Esquimalt’s 15-per-cent share of this cost amounts to $94,374.

Victoria supported the idea, but Esquimalt didn’t agree with the amount, saying they couldn’t justify passing that cost on to their taxpayers without a clearer idea about how it would specifically improve police services in the municipality.

In March the request was put in again, and because of the department’s fiscal year calendar, Esquimalt’s portion had dropped to just over $40,000, but the cost was still denied.

In response, Manak decided to pull all liaison officers from local schools.

RELATED: Police chief’s plea for funding rejected in Esquimalt

“I was left to make a decision of what to do, if anything, to reallocate resources for the front lines,” the chief said. “I was under a lot of pressure to ensure we had enough police officers working to respond to 911 emergency calls; that takes priority.”

He added that the loss of school liaison officers is a big hit for students.

“[They] are literally part of the school; they are there on a really consistent, regular basis,” said Manak, a former school liaison officer himself. “I’ve lost dealing with issues and intervening early before some of these small problems become bigger problems.”

RELATED: VicPD cuts school liaison program over budget impasse with Esquimalt

Seeing no other options, Manak put forward a review request to the provincial government to determine if the six more officers are required. If the province decides they are, it may mandate the municipal councils to help cover the cost.

Manak is hopeful the government will see how hard the department is working, especially in light of the opioid crisis that has seen Victoria experience the third-highest number of overdose deaths in the province.

“The demands placed on us leaves us with a higher volume of calls and a higher severity of calls looking at mental health issues, street issues and social disorders,” he said. “How can a police department be expected to provide an adequate level of response to the community?”

The province is expected to provide a decision by November at the earliest.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

‘Listen to your body:’ Saanich woman fights to have breast implants removed

Woman struggles to find doctor to remove Allergan textured implants, recently linked to rare cancer

Police find shoes, backpack of the man found dead in Saanich

Officers credit public’s help, continue to seek information

Victoria Police seize drugs, replica firearms and $50,000 in cash after searching Victoria home

A property in the 600-block of Manchester Avenue is focus of investigation

Saanich approves new eight- and 11-storey residence buildings for UVic

Residents also supported the environmentally friendly residences

Federal government funds 60 ‘micro-loft’ rental units set to open on Fort Street

The Sawyer Block at 840 Fort St. will house affordable units and a small amount of retail space

VIDEO: Come along for the ride on Tour de Victoria

Reporter captures video footage of his Tour de Victoria ride

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Most Read