Today’s Police Services Board promises to be an interesting meeting with 2012 annual reports offering an overview of crime and policing trends in our city, the McMaster University Security Services report, and the Chief’s latest budget revision.
Hamilton Police Chief Glenn De Caire’s bringing down his budget request for a fourth time, dropping the increase from an original 5.25% in November to 3.71% being presented to the Police Services Board on Tuesday.
The Chief latest trimming of the budget is the result of not hiring ten new officers until September. The Ontario Police College will not conduct basic constable training this summer, cancelling the planning May hires.
The 2013 police budget has been very divisive, with a public outcry against the original 5.25% resulting in rumbles from Council they will not approve the budget. The request was dropped to 4.75%, then 3.9%, and now 3.71%.
A status-quo budget for the police service is 3.62% due to collective agreements.
The Chief has been a regular presence at City Hall, meeting individually with councillors in their offices to encourage them to support his budget request.
Councillor Terry Whitehead who, along with Bernie Morelli and Mayor Bob Bratina, is one of three members of Council on the Police Services Board remains opposed to the budget.
Whitehead says approving the 21 new hires proposed by the Chief will transfer the 5.25% increase to 2014. He says the Chief has not made any cuts to the original request, just defers the costs.
Council will vote on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. on the budget request. If they vote down the police budget, the matter is likely to go to independent arbitration.
The Chief will present the 2012 crime statistics tonight as well. Overall, crime is down in the City. More importantly, most categories are showing a continuing decrease in the “five-year average”.
The McMaster University Special Constable Service will present their annual 2012 report to the Police Services Board tonight.
The Special Constables at McMaster are sworn peace officers who are empowered by the Police Services Board to enforce the Criminal Code and other legislation at McMaster University. They also encounter McMaster policies on campus, but do so independently of the campus administration.
Jim Kay, the Council citizen appointee to the Police Services Board, resigned last month. His vacancy has not been filled.
City Council plans to open the position to public nominees, leaving the Board membership 50/50 between elected officials and appointees for the time being.