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‘We don’t have enough people to answer the calls:’ Durham Regional Police Association

Durham police concerned over 2020 budget cap
Durham police are expressing concern about a budget cap imposed by the region. Brittany Rosen has more.

Durham Regional Police Association is expressing concern over a budget cap imposed by the region.

Colin Goodwin, president of the association, says officers are needed now more than ever.

“Staffing levels for the Durham Regional Police Service are set in the early 2000s,” he said.

“We don’t have enough officers to respond to the calls, but we’re at a point where we don’t have enough people to answer the calls.”

READ MORE: Ford government cuts $46M from provincial police budget

That’s why the association says the force requested a seven per cent budget increase from the region with the intention of adding 37 new positions, including 20 front line officers.

The board rejected the proposal, granting three per cent instead.

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“A three per cent increase on the police budget is still well over six million dollars, so we are still funding police,” said Durham regional chair John Henry.

“Their funding is higher right now than any other department in the region.”

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Henry says he understands that with a growing region comes a higher demand from police, but he says the region has to impose a budget cap to meet other needs.

“We’re doing the right things, but you have to do it in a structure that meets the needs of the region and meets the growth, so the board’s concerned,” he said.

“As chair of the region I’m concerned about all the budgets coming forward and the challenges we’ve had with funding in other areas.”

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As for police, they fear that a lack of funding could have concerning consequences.

“Our primary job is emergency response, it’s to respond to the 911 calls,” Goodwin said.

“Everything else outside of that, you start to pull resources from community service groups, specialty units may see a reduction in size.”

Durham Regional Police recognized for exemplary work at awards dinner
Durham Regional Police recognized for exemplary work at awards dinner