There is no issue with recruitment of RCMP officers coming to Penticton, contrary to what a city councillor asserted on a Facebook post, said Penticton RCMP Supt. Brian Hunter.
“The Penticton RCMP have never had an issue with filling positions at the detachment,” said Hunter who is the Officer in Charge.
The clarification comes after Penticton city coun. Julius Bloomfield took to the Penticton Facebook page this weekend claiming that Penticton RCMP can’t fill the two positions that council agreed to in 2020, let alone the new officers the mayor proposed to hire.
Bloomfield claimed this is because there is a lack of officers to fill positions across B.C.
Bloomfield further claimed the RCMP is having problems recruiting new people to the force.
“Currently the positions for two new members we requested in 2020 have not been filled. Those two plus the two more members we agreed to in our last meeting means there are four vacancies yet to be filled,” said Bloomfield on Facebook.
Hunter explained that the procedures and process to fill a municipally funded RCMP position are clearly outlined in the Municipal Police Service Agreements,.
The written request by the city of Penticton to the Provincial Solicitor General to fill the two positions occurred in July 2021, said Hunter. “Once approved, the Penticton RCMP will begin the process of filling the positions.”
Once the requests are placed with the RCMP for new officers, according to the City of Penticton, the turnaround for them to arrive is between eight to sixteen months.
At a July 29 special meeting, council voted down the mayor’s motion to add five more police officers.
In the end, city council voted in favour of adding two more officers to the understaffed detachment.
In the meeting, Penticton RCMP’s top cop told council that adding five officers would be a ‘good start.’
“Right now we do zero proactive policing. Our caseload is 139 per cent higher than the provincial average,” Hunter told council.
Coun. Campbell Watt asked why Hunter thinks Penticton has such a high caseload.
“We are 11th in the country for non-violent crimes and 14th in Canada on the crime index. That is for the whole country. There is a lot that happens here in Penticton and we don’t have the officers to deal with it. Our caseload is egregious. It’s awful,” said Hunter.
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