Vancouver police Deputy Chief Doug LePard is leaving the force to head the Metro Vancouver Transit Police, but some are questioning the move.
LePard is retiring after 35 years of service with the VPD, but Jordan Bateman with Canadian Taxpayers Federation says it is a job change that should set off alarm bells for B.C. taxpayers.
“[LePard] will be double-dipping,” Bateman said. “He will collect his pension for his years of service at the VPD. He will also collect a new salary as the head of the Transit Police, and he will start building a second pension, all of which, of course, is funded by the taxpayers.”
Bateman says it is believed half of the transit police constables are retired police officers although, he admits, TransLink does not release the numbers officially.
In 2014, Transit Police paid out $20,766,213 in salaries. One hundred sixty-nine constables made more than $75,000 a year in wages. The highest earner, listed as “Constable 44” in official documents, earned $187,647, with $18,360 in expenses covered.
Comparing “top of scale” constables, a transit police officer makes $104,040, a VPD officer makes $105,990 and an RCMP officer makes $82,108.
“These [transit police] officers get paid more than RCMP officers for work that is far less dangerous than what many at RCMP face,” Bateman said.He claims an average transit police officer works on less than one serious or property crime file a month.“That’s about 10 a year they work on,” he said. “We are overpaying for this.”WATCH: Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation speaks out against the appointment of Vancouver deputy police chief Doug LePard to Metro Vancouver’s Transit Police.
Extended: Jordan Bateman denounces Transit Police appointment
The utility of Transit Police?Bateman says the biggest takeaway from today’s announcement for B.C. taxpayers should be the overall utility of Transit Police, which he calls a “colossal waste of money.”He claims the majority of files handled by Transit Police revolve around fare-checking.“Any serious crime going on SkyTrain could be handled by jurisdictional police. This is redundancy,” he said. “There is not an inch of SkyTrain that does not run through a community that has a police force. The dirty secret is jurisdictional police handle most of the files in and around SkyTrain stations anyways. It would not be such a huge ask for them to also work on the very few serious crimes that happen on the SkyTrain as well.”Bateman says he would like to see TransLink take the money out of the Transit Police budget and put it into cheaper transit security, get more eyes on the system and work with jurisdictional police to save taxpayer dollars.