Details missing in Vancouver mayor’s pledge to hire 100 police officers, nurses

Click to play video: 'Details missing for Vancouver mayor’s campaign promise to add 100 police officers, nurses'
Details missing for Vancouver mayor’s campaign promise to add 100 police officers, nurses
WATCH: Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim ran on a promise to hire 100 police officers and another 100 mental health nurses, but it seems the plan may have already slowed down. Emad Agahi reports – Nov 16, 2022

It appears new Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim’s plan to hire 100 new police officers and 100 new mental health nurses on “day one” will take a little longer than planned.

The pledge was one of ABC Vancouver’s earliest and most central campaign promises, in a municipal election dominated by the public safety issue.

The plan was put to paper this week in the form of one of the new governing majority’s first motions to council, introduced Tuesday and scheduled to hear from public speakers on Wednesday.

The motion calls for the officers and nurses to be focused on programs like the Car 87/88 mental health team and other outreach initiatives.

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But the funding proposed for the 2023 budget, $4.5 million to requisition police officers and $1.5 million to hire nurses, subject to hiring and deployment plans from the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and Vancouver Coastal Health, would appear to fall well short of 200 full time positions.

At the $77,983 starting salary of a VPD recruit, the $4.5 million would only provide for 57 new officers — not factoring for other costs.

Similarly, the $1.5 million in city funds would only provide for 21 nurses at an estimated average salary of $69,561.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver mayor-elect vows quick movement on public safety'
Vancouver mayor-elect vows quick movement on public safety

Despite being at council Wednesday, Mayor Sim did not agree to an interview request to clarify the apparent shortfall.

“This is a first budget, right, this is our very first budget so there will be future budgets and future allocations, but again this is a starting point,” ABC Coun. Lisa Dominato, who authored the motion, told Global News.

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“We anticipate both VPD and VCH are going to be able to ramp up and supply both the officers and the mental health nurses that are needed for our system … our commitment was do do this over the next couple of years, and I think you will see that.”

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Meanwhile, the new governing majority faced criticism from the opposition over the disproportionate funding earmarked for police and for nurses.

“The amount directed towards policing is three times the amount directed towards nurses, even though the number is to hire an equal number of each of them,” OneCity Coun. Christine Boyle said.

“Many people need help, not handcuffs.”

While the police and nurse motion was on the agenda for Wednesday, it was not clear when it would make it to the floor, after long speaker lists for two other motions dominated much of the day at council.

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