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Hope City Citizens for Responsible Government

Lowell Black, a local radio talk show host and leader of this group, expressed the view that it is high time that the city and Police Service got their finances in order. He noted that the Hope City police force seems to be trying to do more with less than other like-sized communities (i.e., answer more police calls with fewer officers and less annual money). In response, for years the force has had to make emergency appeals to the city for millions of dollars to cover overtime. He says that Hope City's citizens deserve a sufficiently funded police force, one that forecasts its future expenditures accurately and that does not waste millions of dollars annually on excessive overtime.

Mr. Black maintains that his group has sought meetings with the police chief and the Police Service Board to put forth its views but has yet to get an audience. He is strongly supportive of a well-funded Police Service, but wants it managed in a more businesslike manner.

Other Input

As part of her report, the consultant summarized some recent surveys that Hope City and the Police Service had conducted. These survey results are presented in Exhibit 17.1. She was not asked to draw any conclusions from these; that is the job of the senior Police Service managers.

On the legal front, the Police Service has also faced some challenges. A recent court case found that evidence in a case had been gathered improperly, leading to a City Charter violation. The exclusion of the evidence led to a dismissal of serious criminal charges. In dismissing the case, the judge expressed concern that the Hope City police officers lacked proper knowledge and training in the area of search and preservation of evidence.

The Police Service is in the middle of a human rights complaint from one of its uniformed employees. She claims that she was not properly accommodated as the result of a medical condition that prevented her from riding in patrol vehicles. There is considerable resentment within the ranks of these special forms of accommodation.

Exhibit 17.1 Survey Results for Offense/Complaint Types

Type

Very

Concerned

Somewhat

Concerned

Not

Concerned

Noise

10%

28%

62%

Suspicious persons

35%

5%

40%

Speeding traffic

39%

32%

28%

Breaking and entering

18%

45%

37%

Theft of property

18%

42%

36%

Car theft

15%

40%

46%

Vandalism

25%

40%

35%

Being assaulted on the street

22%

25%

52%

Being verbally abused

19%

22%

58%

Domestic disputes

5%

30%

65%

Finally, the consultant listed some developments that she was aware of in her other work in the police community:

• The Provincial Ministry of Public Safety, which supervises policing in the province, is conducting a study on the creation of regional police services, one for the four cities east of Benville and one for the three cities to the west and north. This will be completed sometime in the next year. One of the currently favored options is the creation of two mega-services.

• Police Service Board appointments are up for renewal this year. Many of the current board members have been around for a couple of terms, and change can be expected.

• Vancouver has just launched an aggressive recruitment campaign in this part of the country, and the packages offered for young officers are attractive.

• Benville has launched a job search for two new deputy chiefs. All chiefs in the adjacent areas have been approached by the headhunter, including Chief Paulson. So have a number of deputies.

 
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