A significant hike is coming to Guelph police’s operating budget after the Police Services Board approved the $46 million plan for 2020 during a meeting on Tuesday.
The budget is a 10 per cent increase from last year’s operating budget and the first under new chief of police, Gord Cobey.
“We are not well-positioned to meet the needs of our community,” Cobey said in an interview with Magic 106.1 radio on Sept. 27.
“We live in a community that has grown a great deal over the last decade and when we looked at calls for service, population, crime severity, et cetera — we’re not well-positioned.”
Some of the more urgent needs covered in the budget include hiring 18 additional police officers, including eight front-line patrol officers and two traffic constables.
A report presented to the board said additional officers would reduce over time, improve response time, and increase the ability to properly staff patrol zones including the downtown.
“We’re projected to reach $2 million or over 40,000 hours in overtime this year for the first time ever,” Cobey said. “So it’s about how to meet those priorities and making sure we have resourcing levels to do that and do it well.”
The budget also includes adding 13 full-time civilian positions and one part-time position, including eight dispatchers, a media spokesperson and a wellness coordinator.
Cobey said these additions put the service on the right path.
“The investment that I’m proposing is the investment that we sincerely think is required so we are well-positioned and certainly moving forward to meet the needs of the community,” he said.
The budget will be presented to city council in November before a final decision is made during the city’s own budget deliberations.
WATCH: (Sept. 27, 2019) Chief Gord Cobey joins Magic 106.1 to chat about Homecoming and the 2020 police budget.
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