Photo: Nicolas Johansson / FILE
Help is coming.
And, for Kelowna’s RCMP contingent, which is operating with a 20 percent vacancy rate, that help can’t come fast enough.
During his quarterly update before the city council, S. Kara Trance says her appeal for help went unnoticed.
“I see that we are coming out through these officers who have been placed in our troop,” says Trance.
“We worked hard to share our concerns about staffing, not only divisionally, but with other commanders who were in similar positions with increasing workloads and a lack of people coming through our recruiting facility.
“What we’ve seen is Kelowna’s priority through our national staffing program and recruitment of officers.”
Kelowna’s challenges are not unique because of the expected influx of tourists this summer,” Trines told the council.
She says law enforcement is no different from other workforces, which are finding it harder to recruit people.
Those extra strains in Kelowna, Trance says, will lead to an influx of additional shoes on the ground in the coming months.
“While we won’t see resources until the fall, we anticipate a significant increase in transfers to come which I’m quite pleased with.”
When fully functioning, with a budget for 222 uniformed members and over 100 city support staff, Kelowna is the fourth largest RCMP contingent in the country, behind only Surrey, Burnaby and Richmond. Kelowna would eventually become number three once Surrey fully transitioned to a municipal force.
Kelowna, Triance says, will also be revived for the expected summer boom after some “internal and external restructuring”.
The extra help may not come fast enough for the city, which has seen an increase in crime in the first three months of the year compared to 2021.
Much of the growth centers around property crime, ransacking and shoplifting, many of which have surpassed pre-pandemic levels.
“Change needs to happen,” Conn said. Brad Sieben.
“Whatever is on our streets continues to grow in severity, regardless of what the figures show that are alarming in their own right. I don’t know if they tell the full story of the tone and feel of the streets.”