Lethbridge Police Commission accepts city council request to review staffing

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Lethbridge Police Commission accepts city council request to review staffing levels
WATCH: A motion calling for the Lethbridge Police Service to hire eight more officers continues to be examined. Council passed the motion on Oct. 28, and now the police commission and acting chief will work together on how best to deploy any additional resources. Jasmine Bala has more – Oct 31, 2019

The Lethbridge Police Service will undergo a staffing review after the police commission accepted a city council motion to both look at staffing levels and offer recommendations.

Councillor Blaine Hyggen put forward the motion during the council meeting on Oct. 28, requesting the commission to “research and identify the costs, timelines and implementation process to assist the Lethbridge police with hiring of… eight total new police officers to help mitigate the current crime situation.”

Hyggen said the recent surge in crime has left many residents feeling concerned.

“The more crime that we’ve had, I thought it was important — as a lot [of others] find too — to have more feet on the street to deal with it,” he said on Monday after the council meeting.

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“It’s going to be up to the police commission to have this done and that’s why it’s a request for them and not a direction for them to do that. I hope they’ll come back and let us know exactly what their requirements are.”

The commission has voted to forward the request to their finance committee as well as the LPS executive and acting chief, Scott Woods.

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“The commission is going to rely on the executive, the chief and the senior leadership to come up with proposals to best deal with this request and the options,” commission chair Peter Deys said Monday.

Chief Woods will now review staffing levels and determine whether the motion is feasible from a day-to-day standpoint.

“[It’s] an average cost of $150,000 to have a full constable on the street per year and you multiply [that] by eight, you’re looking at 1.2 million dollars,” Deys noted.
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This isn’t something that would happen overnight, he added, as it takes 37 weeks of training before a new officer can hit the streets. Woods will also consider other options that may be more effective, such as a bigger role for community peace officers.

“We could possibly look at… turning some of those into full-time positions,” Deys said. “We’ll take a look at all of the options.”

The commission will return to council with recommendations of how to proceed on Dec. 9, 2019.

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