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Police board approves 8 new officers, debate moves to Saskatoon city council

Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said the debate to hire eight new officers will take place during the city’s budget deliberations.
Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said the debate to hire eight new officers will take place during the city’s budget deliberations. File / Global News

A motion to hire eight more officers at Saskatoon’s new safe consumption site passed unanimously on Wednesday at a police commission board meeting.

An extra $828,000 would be needed in the 2020 budget for the community mobilization unit, which must first be approved by city council.

READ MORE: Saskatoon Police Association wants more officers than what’s proposed in budget

The board also approved an additional $807,600 in 2021 for the unit.

“The board was of the view that the resources, identified by a careful study of what had worked, and not worked, in other cities, need to be put in place before the site opens,” said board chair Darlene Brander.

“While the board of police commissioners is fully aware of the time of this request relative to the city’s budget process, it concluded that ensuring community safety should be the overriding factor.”

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A report from the Saskatoon Police Service looking at consumption sites in other cities found appropriate preparatory steps were essential for a safe and effective supervised consumption site.

READ MORE: Health Canada approves 1st supervised consumption site in Saskatchewan

Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said the debate for the new officers will take place during the city’s budget deliberations at the end of November.

“This is going to come forward as an additional request over and above the property tax increase,” Clark told Global News on Thursday.

Clark said the proposed property tax hike sits at 3.24 per cent, the lowest proposed increase in 10 years, and it will be a tough conversation at the end of the month.

“The goal I have and council has is how do we manage all that changing and dynamic forces that are going on in our city while still keeping property taxes low,” Clark said.

“I want every resident to feel that they live in a safe neighbourhood. We’re all going to have to work together to get there now.”

Saskatoon police commission engages stakeholders in community meeting
Saskatoon police commission engages stakeholders in community meeting

AIDS Saskatoon is holding public tours of the safe consumption site prior to it opening.

It will be the first supervised consumption site in the province.

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