For the first time in several years the St. Albert RCMP detachment is fully staffed. While that’s good news in terms of reducing crime, city officials hope the increase won’t wreak havoc on the public purse.
As of March 31 the detachment had a full roster with 48 members filling out the 47 allotted positions. Insp. Warren Dosko gave the good news to council this week while presenting his first-quarter report.
Staffing pressures in the RCMP nationally over the last few years has made it difficult to get all of those spaces full and the detachment has usually been a few members shy of the city’s request.
Despite asking for 50 officers this year the city budgeted for just 43. Vacancies combined with sick leave and other factors have usually resulted in fewer officers than the number the city budgets for.
In addition to the full roster of 47, council signed off on three new officers for traffic duties during the 2009 budget. Chris Jardine, general manager of community and protective services, said even with a fully staffed detachment the city isn’t being billed for all of those officers.
“We are going to be fine with our budget,” he said. “Even though the butts are in the seats, we are not paying for all of them.”
Jardine said the city only pays for officers who are on full duty, so the billing rate is usually much lower than the number the city requests.
He said several officers were on modified duty due to injuries. Although they are at the detachment, the city is not billed for them under the contract with the RCMP.
The detachment also has several new members straight from the RCMP training centre in Regina who are not billed at a full rate. The city also is not billed for officers on sick leave for more than 30 days or officers on maternity leave.
Jardine said the contract works to the city’s advantage.
“We are sitting good. We are getting the best of both worlds; we have a full roster, but we are not financially responsible for the full roster.”
He said even though at the end of the first quarter the detachment was fully staffed, the city only paid for 39.43 members.
Jardine said the higher numbers at the detachment are still unlikely to cause problems in this year’s budget, but in the next budget they may have to budget more closely to their request.
“We have had the benefit over the past few years of getting close to roster without being billed for it, but all accounts are that we are going to have to start budgeting closer to our ask.”
2006 2007 2008
Officers requested 46 46 46
Officers budgeted 43 46 44
Officers billed 41.58 40.23 39.81