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Lethbridge city council considers increasing size of police force

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WATCH: Lethbridge city councilors are discussing the possibility of adding new police officers to the city’s police force. Councillor Blaine Hyggen says he is bringing the proposal to the table in response to a spike in crime rates and the resulting burnout among officers currently in service. Emily Olsen reports – Oct 28, 2019

Lethbridge city councillors are discussing the possibility of adding additional officers to the city’s police force.

Councillor Blaine Hyggen says he is bringing the proposal to the table after a spike in crime rates and the resulting burnout among officers currently in service.

“I just think it’s important,” Hyggen said.

“Right now there’s some serious concerns about burnout and overtime and the stress that our current officers are going through.”

READ MORE: Lethbridge police address string of random, violent crimes

Hyggen brought forward the resolution that would see eight new officers added to the Lethbridge Police Service , which would equal out to two extra officers available per shift.

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The councillor says after reviewing the statistics and the budget, he believes the new hires could actually save money in the long run.

“It’s my understanding if my numbers are correct, we can have more officers with minimal change in what the budget would be coming here in a couple years,” Hyggen said.

“The positive thing about this is, I know it’s not in the operating budget time — it’s not for another two years — but it will give council the opportunity to see and for the police sourcing to see if those extra officers can help with the overtime and help with the stress leave that we currently have.”

Elevated crime rates in the community and the drug crisis have recently been listed as the main concerns for both government and policing in the area. 

READ MORE: ‘They held the knife to his throat and told him to drive’: Attempted carjacking in Lethbridge

Whether or not the extra officers will help will now be explored by the police commission and then brought back to council.

A spokesperson from Lethbridge police said the LPS would “welcome any additional resources to help alleviate some of the challenges and pressures we’re facing in the city, but we need to evaluate where and how those resources will best serve the community.”

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The review will come back to council on November 25.