Sault Police add to front-line complement

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Police officers stand ready while waiting for an individual to exit a building, June 7, 2022 (Dan Gray/SaultOnline.com)

After an emergency Police Board Meeting on June 2, 2022, it was decided that for the first time since 1998 there needed to be new front-line officer positions within Sault Police Service.

This was revealed at the public Police Service Board meeting held last week.

Citing overtime costs among other reasons, Sault Police Service Chief Hugh Stevenson said it was necessary to implement these positions.

“We want to be a proactive police service. We want to be able to get to your call related to a property events, as much as we have to go to a violent offence. However, violent offences take three times the resources and time to properly deal with it. Obviously, these are life and death situations, first of all, and secondly, for the public. And so they both are huge issues for us to be concerned about. So the data was there simply to say, let’s have the board look at this reasonably, let’s look at the highs and lows, and we did that,” said Stevenson.

The increase in compliment went from 135 officers to 138 front-line officers.

“From a financial perspective, I can say that you saw what we’re spending per month on overtime, that ranges anywhere from $70,000 to $80,000, and some spikes $100,000,” said Stevenson. “Well, that amount of money could be better spent in putting that into our base, and hopefully reducing those overtime costs over time. So when we look at that amount of money, I think we’re spending a ballpark a million dollars in overtime. That’s six full-time officers overtime. So we’re taking a reasonable approach to it.”

Councillor Lisa Vezeau-Allen was the chair of the meeting and added the new officers don’t affect the budget this year.

“We did it within budget, adding the three officers so as to service our community,” said Vezeau-Allen. “We also have to be fiscally responsible. So working together, we did that.”

Stay with SaultOnline as we bring you other information from the meeting throughout the week.