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Police chief comments on controversy over layoffs and staffing
Published Tuesday, July 11, 2017 6:29PM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 11, 2017 7:25PM MDT
The union that represents Calgary’s police officers says 100 members could soon be laid off but the chief says budget decisions are still months away.
A memo that was sent out by the Calgary Police Association talked about cuts to front-line officers and that compelled the chief to hold a press conference on Tuesday to address the issue.
Chief Roger Chaffin says police have to look at all possible scenarios before the budget is determined in November but rumours about reducing the ranks by 100 members are untrue.
“I want to say without hesitation and unequivocally, that is completely untrue,” said Chaffin.
Chaffin said the service is trying to prepare for budget restraints and it hopes to find cost savings by suspending the hiring of new recruits and offering voluntary retirement incentives for up to 24 people who are close to the end of their careers.
“I've made no secrets to the fact that the service is facing some tough economic times ahead. This is not dissimilar to the rest of the City of Calgary. To ensure we are best prepared, we are looking at multiple scenarios including budget reductions, the status quo and even growth, where necessary,” said Chaffin.
CPA president, Les Kaminski, says the talk of layoffs started with the chief and that he hopes the service and commission will fight to maintain the budget as it affects the safety of citizens and officers.
Statistics from 2015, show that Calgary police serve more citizens than police in most other major centres in Canada at a ratio of 616 citizens to each officer.
The chief says the numbers show that his officers are working with less and that the statistics don't account for increases in the population over the last two years.
(With files from Jordan Kanygin)