Provincial Court rooms may find themselves with the presence of a sheriff after all.
Despite news that the B.C. government was cutting funding to the provincial sheriffs department, the government announced Monday that they will be hiring 36 new auxiliary sheriff positions.
The B.C. government will be posting sheriff graduates to a number of communities around the province and two of those sheriffs, will be calling Fort St. John home. Prince George will be receiving three new sheriffs. These additions will be a mix of regular, part-time and auxiliary positions.
On May 27, the provincial government substantially cut the hours of its sheriffs, including 28 auxiliary deputy sheriffs who had their hours cut by up to 90 per cent and 24 regular part-time deputy sheriffs, who experienced a 25 per cent cut.
B.C. Government and Services Employees’ Union President Darryl Walker says “we are pleased the government has listened to the concerns from sheriffs, judges and the public about the need to have proper security in court. The entire court system has slowed to a crawl for the past couple of years, because the government hasn’t replaced the vacant sheriff positions.”
According to the B.C. government, the number of sheriffs has dropped from 525 to approximately 385 in just a few years time.
The addition of more sheriff positions will also aid in the progression of court cases through the judicial system, which slowed immensely when cuts were made.
Dean Purdy, chair of the union’s Corrections and Sheriff Services component, says “the provincial government already had problems keeping courts operating before these cuts on May 27, but this slowed the wheels of justice to a crawl. Hiring these new sheriffs will help somewhat to restore the bogged down court system.”