Fort St. John Staff Sergeant Ward Johnson is encouraging the City to look at budgeting for more RCMP members.
The current edition of the 2009 Operating Budget does not allow for any new RCMP members. The RCMP will still see new members join the force this year, but that is from the 2008 budget. In many cases it can take anywhere from 12 to 24 months before a requested recruit is available in any given community.
A 2006 Human Resources Needs Analysis stated that the RCMP need approximately 40 regular members to provide sufficient service levels in the community. Currently the RCMP has 32 regular members and that number has increased only by 7 since 1981.
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Staff Sergeant Ward Johnson says there is away for the detachment to get more regular members without increasing the Operational Budget. Currently the RCMP runs a vacancy rate where members are not paid for by the city while they are on maternity/paternity leave or injured. This free’s up money in the RCMP’s budget that is normally returned to the city at the end of the year.
The problem with using that money is it doesn’t provide a permanent solution as once those members return to regular duty, that money is no longer available.
Council will now look at the idea of adding more members, but that could change the Operational Budget. The idea will be discussed further at the next council meeting scheduled for Monday.