Esquimalt Township council voted down a motion for an increase in funding for the Victoria Police Department in a meeting Jan. 22 at municipal hall. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Police chief’s plea for funding rejected in Esquimalt

Council narrowly votes down $94,000 budget increase for policing

Victoria police Chief Const. Del Manak was looking for his department to hire six more police officers and two civilian staff to better police the Township of Esquimalt.

To do so, he told Esquimalt council recently, it would require an extra $94,000 from the Township. That money won’t be coming anytime soon.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that there is a gap in what we provide and what you’re looking for,” Manak said during his presentation of the 2018-19 Victoria-Esquimalt police budget. That gap is perpetuated by a growing population and a lean police department, he added.

The presentation pointed to the 8.9-per-cent rise in Esquimalt’s population since 2011, well above the 6.5-per-cent CRD average.

While the crime rate has been relatively stable for the last five years, the need for more officers was first identified back in 2012.

Between 16.7 per cent and 21.4 per cent of on-duty patrol resources are assigned specifically to Esquimalt, where roughly 11 per cent of all calls to VicPD originate, Manak said.

“The officers work so hard, 24/7,” he said. “They are not waiting for the next call to come in, there’s a load of calls holding that they wish they could get to sooner.”

An overview of the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) program, a two-year pilot expansion program that began integrating mental health support with policing in 2017, revealed officers have seen “an immediate positive impact.”

Manak requested that the multi-disciplinary team, which includes clinicians and psychologists, be increased from one officer to three at a cost of $37,000 for the Township, where 38 of the ACT clients reside.

“The goal here is to really have a patient-centered, client-focused response and to help people,” he said. “Instead of working in silos, [we want to] work in collaborative teams that are far more effective and able to stabilize people.”

Because mental illness and criminality often intersect, it’s important the department is able to work with other service providers such as Island Health to form strong bonds with individuals, he added.

Councillors were dubious about what were described as “staggering numbers” for the Township’s population of 18,000.

“I’m not supporting it because I actually want to put pressure on the call for regionalization,” Coun. Beth Burton-Krahn said, referring to a regional police force. “I’m sick and tired of Esquimalt residents picking up the cost for Saanich and Oak Bay.”

Mayor Barb Desjardins said she couldn’t support the motion because she did not feel it supported the framework agreement the department initially made with the Township regarding the budget.

Ultimately, council voted down the motion 4-3.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Foot found near Victoria belonged to missing Washington man

No foul play suspected in death of Stanley Okumoto, 79

Snow cancels, alters transit routes across Greater Victoria

Buses will not be stopping on steep hills, says BC Transit

Man surprises trial, claims responsibility for Saanich sex assault

Fellow inmate of accused David Hope claims responsibility

WATCH: Do you recognize this sexual assault suspect?

Victoria police release new footage suspect in Bay Centre attack on young girl

‘Where the hell are the environmental monitors?’ says Colquitz activist

McKenzie construction continues to pollute Colquitz

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

Two Haida men detained for crossing U.S.-Canada border

Edenshaw and Frisby travelled from Alaska to Prince Rupert for the All Native Basketball Tournament

Alberta takes out full-page ads in B.C. over strained relationship

It’s the latest move between the two provinces over progress on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

B.C. teacher suspended over allegedly using N-word in worksheets

Trafalgar Elementary teacher under investigation by Vancouver School Board

Toddler swept away in Ontario floods

Toddler missing as flooding forces thousands from their homes in Ontario

Inside the Olympic performance of the Island’s Teal Harle

Islander finishes fifth in Olympic Men’s Slopestyle final in Pyeong Chang

BC BUDGET: New money helps seniors’ care shortage

Job stability for care aides key to recruitment, union leader says

Mixed messages on B.C.’s efforts to cool hot housing market

Economist says undersupply of homes in Metro Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna will keep prices high

Questions raised over B.C. NDP’s childcare budget plan

Advocates concerned how to fill 22,000 new spaces for early childhood educators

Most Read