Penticton city staff will be asking council to approve $75,000 to fund a community safety review.
Acting on council’s direction to make community safety the top priority of the 2022-2026 financial plan, city staff will be at the Dec. 7 council meeting asking to hire consultants to conduct the review of police, bylaw and fire services.
According to city staff, the review will be completed by mid-2022.
It will look at police, bylaw and fire operations, how each allocate resources to meet demands for services and whether there are alternative strategies to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of these services, said a city staff report.
The city will hire an independent project team led by Dr. Curt T. Griffiths, professor and coordinator of the police studies program, school of criminology at Simon Fraser University and Dr. Eli Sopow. He is a professor in the MBA program at University Canada West.
Both Dr. Griffiths and Dr. Sopow have extensive experience conducting studies of police operations, strategies, and resource utilization across the province, said the city’s general manager of community services Anthony Haddad.
“The process for completing the review will involve a community survey, city department interviews and focus group meetings with community stakeholders to gather the appropriate data for the eventual long-term recommendations,” said Haddad.
Staff have been working with the RCMP, bylaw and fire in developing the scope of review.
Penticton RCMP officers have the highest caseload in B.C. The city has hired three more officers in its 2022 budget, bringing the total of new officers set to arrive here to seven.
The bylaw department is also getting five more officers, and two more community safety officers to address the demands on that department as well.
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