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

Esquimalt council approves building, dog areas for Gorge Park

$7 million in funding for waterfront improvements goes to multipurpose building and dog park

Plant-based pizza restaurant to open its doors in Victoria this December

Virtuous Pie has locations in Vancouver, Toronto and Portland

PHOTOS: Trangender flag raised for first time ever outside of B.C. Legislature

Nov. 20 marks Transgender Day of Remembrance, honouring those who have been murdered

Ocean swim challenge shines spotlight on Crystal Pool plight

Ultra-marathon swimmer sends tongue-in-cheek invite to Victoria council

Saanich mayor urges premier to tweak road speeds in an ‘epidemic of road crash fatalities’

Haynes cites ICBC and provincial documents in letter to John Horgan

B.C. politicians view supermodel’s transition journey on Transgender Day

Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite and New Democrat MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert appear in the documentary

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 19

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

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

Four arrested after report of shots fired in Nanaimo

RCMP arrest four suspects in high-risk takedown in Cedar

B.C. won’t appeal decision protecting ICBC court experts

Change to evidence rules next to save money, David Eby says

1898 Yukon gold rush photo featuring Greta Thunberg look-alike sends internet into tailspin

Jokes erupted this week after a 120-year-old photo taken by Eric A. Hegg surfaced from archives

Distracted driving tickets not for ICBC revenue, B.C. minister says

Minister Mike Farnworth calls SenseBC analysis ‘nonsense’

CN Rail strike and lack of trucking alternatives stoke forest industry fears

Companies calling on the federal government to ‘do everything in its power’ to end the strike

Most Read