A preliminary copy of an operational review of the Winnipeg Police Service — leaked to the Winnipeg Free Press this week — recommended substantial cuts to the service, including disbanding the vice squad and the cold case unit that digs into unsolved homicide cases.
The draft final report from Matrix Consulting Groups, which is expected to be presented to Winnipeg’s mayor and his executive committee next month, also proposes reducing the size of the stolen-auto unit and closing the clandestine-laboratory unit and contracting the work out to the RCMP lab.
This is, of course, a Winnipeg story, but it becomes suggestive in light of a recent Brandon Sun story that showed how Brandon Police Service salaries for sworn members have gone up by 46 per cent since 2005. As the Sun reported, the base salary of a first-class constable was nearly twice than what a typical Manitoba citizen made in average weekly earnings in 2012.
In a subsequent editorial, we suggested the powers that be should consider reviewing police resources, something we still believe could prove beneficial in light of the city’s ongoing struggles with staff salary increases.
During an interview on Thursday, Mark Frison, the chair of Brandon’s fledgling police board, said the board was too new an organization to be considering such a review.
But during a recent conference of the Canadian Association of Police Boards, Frison said similar sized police forces to Brandon’s were also concerned about the rising costs of policing.
“It’s going to be a big issue,” Frison said. “I think everybody recognizes that at some point there has to be a way to get the increases more similar to what’s happening in the general population.”
Whether that points to a possible future direction of the board, Frison wouldn’t let on. But with Winnipeg now talking about police costs, perhaps it’s only a matter of time before Brandon does the same.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 30, 2013