//A Question for Our Leaders

A Question for Our Leaders

“One issue that concerns Ontarians greatly is that of the exponential rise in the cost of policing. The province and municipalities spend a total of $3.8 billion annually year on policing, and over the last decade costs have been rising by 5-7 percent a year driven by rising labour costs, increasing demands on police services and other pressures. Every municipality across the province is struggling to figure out how it can continue to fund adequate and effective policing services without sacrificing or negatively affecting other important programs.

Do you agree that this is an urgent issue and, if so, what concrete actions would you take as Premier to address it?”

Dr. Alok Mukerjee
President
Ontario Association of Police Service Boards

By |2012-12-05T16:23:02+00:00December 5th, 2012|Uncategorized|23 Comments

About the Author:

Terry Whitehead is the City Councillor for the West Hamilton Mountain Ward 8. He has represented the residents of Ward 8 since 2003

23 Comments

  1. Denise OConnor December 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Thanks for hosting the poll. Good initiative.

    • wayne muzyka December 7, 2012 at 8:32 pm

      I believe it is time to take a long hard look at police spending. If the departments started questioning the walking wounded (some are legit……….a vast number are not), and rather than reward them with steady day positions and weekends off walking around the various areas of the police stations with a piece of paper, they (wounded) may start walking out the door with their pensions so we could put more personnel on the street. Also it is time the Police and Politics gather together and push the govt. to abolish the pay for life if you are charged…..One alternative could be suspendend with pay for 90 days, then go ka ka or get off the pot…….No more pay..If you are found not guilty then back pay, but let’s not keep the meter running indefinately as a certain Inspector Dolt is guilty of doing. Whatever happened to the word integrity in policing. It is very understandable that a large number of citizens are losing faith in policing…

  2. Sandra Millar December 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    VOTE: – NOT in favour of giving that large % increase to Hamilton Police
    ( also left a message on your other comment forum – Police Services )

    Thank you for allowing the public to have their say on this issue.

  3. DJ December 5, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Again, police are a necessary evil, if you will. We don’t like to pay for the service that we cannot live without it. The demands for police services keep growing so the cost will grow as well.

    I would not put my life on the line for minimum wage; put in long hours in a compact car; trust in a soup can and string communications system, so I don’t expect them to!

    When we obtain a society level where we can all play nice and crime is no longer…..then we’ll save some money. We won’t need police.

    • Peter from Hamilton December 6, 2012 at 4:33 am

      I think you should call an elected official to respond to domestics, fatal accidents, child abuse investigations etc. because any reduction in police officers would mean we would have to call on them to provide protection and safety to the city residents which they were sworn to do.

  4. Bill Tufts December 6, 2012 at 2:41 am

    Terry did a very good job questioning the Chief the Police Services budget meeting. It was good to see someone there protecting the taxpayer. The mayor appeared ready to lay down and get rolled over by Police Services.

    There is nothing wrong in challenging the status quo especially when costs continue to skyrocket.

    The Chief was really doing what he thought the city needs.

    How low do we want the crime rates to be compared to the cost of providing the service?

    Are crime rates low because the police are effectively doing their jobs?

    Are crime rates low because again baby boomers in their 60’s don’t commit crimes?

    The city is in a financial crisis that drives up taxes, reduces services. It is about to get much worse as the provinces financial death spiral and a deficit of $14 Billion will mean much more downloading the city will have to contend with.

    This article describes another city but mirrors what has happened in Hamilton.
    http://www.therecord.com/opinion/editorial/article/846716–police-must-show-fiscal-restraint

  5. Bill Tufts December 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Here is what they have to say about a 7.7% increase in London

    Really is this necessary?
    http://www.lfpress.com/2012/12/05/both-services-told-to-trim-fat-and-return-with-lower-or-no-increases

  6. Bill Tufts December 6, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Hamilton Police Services wants to hire 20 new officers. Look what happens to their salary. It is only $800 this year but they bloom into $2 million in just three years.

    Salary almost doubles in 4 years!
    http://www.wrps.on.ca/careers/constable-positions-1

    Why is Hamilton Police Services collective agreement not on line? Maybe I cant find it …
    http://www.hamilton.ca/CityServices/Careers/EmployeeOrientation/PoliciesProcedures/CityOfHamiltonCollectiveAgreements.htm

  7. RT December 6, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    I thank the the police service for what they do But when is it ever going stop !!!! property taxes keep going up..time to think out side the box.its always easy to ask for money when it not yours . Thanks terry for looking out for the small guy. Terry for mayor

  8. Jim from Gananoque December 6, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    The answer to this is really quite simple: Reduce the budget of the Fire Department
    and transfer those funds to the Police. The idea that Firemen should receive moreorless
    (often more) the same wage as bona fide Police Officers is really quite idiotic in this day
    and age.

    Do any of you politicians have the intestinal fortitude to do what’s right and think outside
    of the box?

  9. Ron December 6, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I think they have a lot of “down-time” when it looks like police are doing very little, but suddenly, they may be running into situations that I know I don’t want to have to go to. I compare it to surgeons and fire fighters; we are paying them for their expertise when it is needed and that is worth the price. We can take the money from the methadone programs for the drug addicts, who contribute nothing to society, but continue to be a drain on our “social(ist)” programs.

  10. Ken Howard December 6, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    As I understand it, the proposed increase amounts to about a $30 increase in taxes. That works out to less than $3.00 a month per household. That is pretty good value for the money. Some would use the comment that crime is decreasing but no one ever gives much of a reason. Many programs inplemented by the police over a number of years are dedicated to the reduction in crime. Guess what increasing police officers equeals a decrease in crime. I would rather pay for the increase than pay a private insurance company increased premiums. Of course there are changes that may be made to various programs but to what end.

  11. K.P. December 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Police Service Budgets are certainly important and increases to any Government Service need to be carefully considered before being approved. Although the Police Budget should certainly be scrutinized before it is approved, I find it comical that there are so many experts in the field (who are not Police and have little if any knowledge of Policing), yet seem to have the answers in Leters to the Editor in local papers in fifty words or less.

    I certainly do not have all the answers, but one of the first things that I think is important to recognize is that Policing is not a business, it is a service and was never designed to make money. It is also a service that some would say is applied to ten percent of the polulation, ninety percent of the time. Finally in considering the cost of Policing, many of the costs are set by external forces, like our Criminal Justice system.

    So, if you think about Policing as a Social Service, does it not make sense to compare the rise in costs, to say, for example the cost of welfare increases. I have not heard about those budget increases this year. Which, if I recall correctly, were once the responsibilty of the Provincial Government. How about trying to get some of that financial support back.

    How about implementing user fees similar to what the Fire Fighters use. When the Fire Dept. shows up at collision scenes, for example, they charge for their services. You don’t see that charge because if you have Liability and comprehensive it is billed directly to your insurance company. If you have Liability only and do not reside in the region that you are in, while in this collision, then you pay. It is somewhere around one thousand dollars,as I recall it happening to my daughter in the Orillia area. If you don’t pay, you will be in Small Claims Court.

    The legal system drives up the cost of Policing by vitue of the time it takes to hear cases and by the level of expertise that the Police are expected to provide for sometimes mundane activities like guarding a crime scene (to maintain continuity of evidence). Or sending Officers to court, sometimes unecessarily for extended periods of time. The Police Service has little or no control over Court appearances. If Officers are in court while on duty – who is on the street! If they go while off duty they get overtime.

    Even though Crime Rates go down (apparently), that does not necessarily equate to less work for the Police. Consider what amount of time goes into an investigation of Domestic Assault, and compare it to thirty years ago. Thirty years ago, it took about forty five minutes to complete a basic and straightforward Domestic Assault Investigation. A report was taken, the incident number given to the victim with the instruction that they had three days to go before a Justice of the Peace and lay their own complaint. Many never bothered to lay the complaint. That burden has been removed from victims and placed squarely on the shoulders of the Police. It now probably takes two Officers about six to ten hours to complete one of these investigations. Things like Bail Oppositions have a way of doing that.

    One thing has always puzzled me. Why do the OPP, Fire Dept. vehicles and Ambulances have different validation stickers on their licence plates. How about they don’t pay yearly fees! Why is there not a Political will, on the municipal level, to explore these types of unfair practices on the part of the Provincial Government and allow Municipal Police Forces the same advantages as Provincial counterparts.

    How about doubling up Officers in Cruisers, it would save on vehicle and fuel expences and provide enhanced Officer Safety. But be prepared to wait longer for sevice in some cases.

    Finally, I don’t dream of having all the answers to whether or not this budget increase is proper or not. But I believe last year the Cost of Living allowance alone was around two percent. Judging by some of the comments I have heard from all corners of this debate, it is clear that council needs to educate itself on the workings of Policing before being able to clearly and fairly evaluate the Budget. Perhaps some sort of merging of the minds between Council,the Police Services Board and The Police Administration might be in order to assist each other. Once you are all on the same page, perhaps a meeting with other similar groups throughout Ont., with the Premier,might help, by changing legislation and allowing for some of the changes I have mentioned. Constructive educated and prudent thinking on the part of Council, with perhaps the offering of some solutions is preferable to the current format.

    One final comment;
    In Dr. Alok Mukerjee’s opening comment, he refers to “rising labour costs”. Really? Is that what he thinks of Police Officers? Labourers? I always thought of them as Professionals with saleries.

  12. Dan December 6, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    What is not said in so many words is that on the average 30 officers per year, over the past four years have been retiring.
    If they are not replaced then services will be affected.
    Priority is something the board and the city need to address….policing is important and a police officer is needed many times in a day, in person..
    If no police officer then someone gets upset for lack of service.
    I am sure the chief did not wake up and say to himself one fine morning…”let’s buck the system and ask for the moon”…his business plan focus group, his chief’s advisory team and his rank and file tell him what is needed.
    He is the messanger….his needs adress a need within the community…salaries are a cost of doing business…very much like tax free incentives to politicians….also required.
    Our police need the tools and the staffing levels required to police a metropolitan rural area such as ours is.
    To deny this is wrong and begs the question..who is going to be left behind?
    Thanks for reading…

  13. Jemmy Fowler December 7, 2012 at 12:26 am

    Maybe if we didn’t have to pay for lawsuits because some officer thinks it is his job to “stomp people for their own safety” and doesn’t know how to act like a professional, or another who doesn’t believe in following through with evidence, or another who gets payed hundreds of thousands of dollars to stay at home for a few years while being “investigated”.

    Police officers are rightly given extraordinary powers over ordinary citizen in order to do the job they were hired to do. With this power comes greater responsibility, and naturally a higher standard. I work extremely hard, pay my taxes and try to raise a family with what is left. I expect my tax dollars to be used to pay for people who know how to act professionally, the officers who can not handle this level of responsibility should be fired.

  14. ron smith December 7, 2012 at 2:28 am

    Would you rather spend the tax payers money on redoing Gore Park again. It sure hasn’t attracted any seniors or working families to the area. Take a drive downtown sometime and have a look at the unemployed bums hanging around the park.

  15. Bill December 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Here is a good overview of our Police services.
    http://www.hamiltonpolice.on.ca/HPS/Publications/AnnualReports/

  16. Bill December 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm
  17. Hammer Citizen December 7, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    I have great respect for the police services; however, I have difficulty with the lack of transparency in the budget process. Police services has not been living within the same fiscal realities we all have, in public and private sectors. Lots has been said about resources expended for the many officers off suspended with pay so I won’t beat that horse since the Police Services Act is a problem here. However, there should likely be more accountability within the force and I would begin by looking at managing the rate of absenteeism which is within their control. I would expect 5% of the salary budget is wasted annually by not properly managing staff with an effective attendance management program. This is clearly an area of accountability and good governance that is largely ignored because it takes political and management will. I also agree with the many detractors of the mounted unit that this is poor use of resources since it is exists largely for ceremonial or public relations purpose but this cost pales in comparison to the costs of absenteeism. As for the fear of arbitrated salary settlements many decisions are coming in with lump sum payments of 1% for each of two years … so I wouldn’t fret about saying no to the excessive budget request. Good Luck!

  18. BIll December 11, 2012 at 2:03 am

    Even more broken is the Fire Fighters budget.

    This from the Mayor of Kitchener.
    http://www.therecord.com/news/local/article/849780–costs-of-firefighting-are-unsustainable-says-mayor-zehr

    Hamilton;s Fire Services
    Fire Services operating costs per have increased
    by 44%

    ◦ from $55.9MM in 2005 to $80.5 in 2011
    ◦ 7.3% / Year

    Lets get these costs under control!

    Keep up the good work Terry.

  19. Bill December 11, 2012 at 8:13 am

    The EMS services police, fire and ambulance need to be completely re-engineered.

    I am no expert but some questions can be asked.

    For example, it appears less than 10% of calls at Fire services are for fires or explosions. Do we need four man crews responding to medical emergencies.
    Can we re-allocate vehicles so that they are more designed for the types of calls EMS responds to?
    Do all three levels of service need to respond to emergency calls for medical calls?
    Can units be integrated so that they include both fire and ambulance trained staff who respond to calls?
    Can any or all of these services be privatized?
    Can the city make better use of volunteer fire fighters?
    Are compensation levels realistic and affordable? For example 2/3 of Sunshine List employees are from Fire and Police. How many captains do we need?

    See an example of a Fire SeErvice in action.

    http://www.city.stratford.on.ca/fire_department/Documents/Annual_Report.pdf

  20. S.C December 11, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Let’s face it, we need more officers so we can have better service. Some of you have used this forum to talk about the few officers that have been in the papers. Ok, now that you have gotting that of your chest…Yes police officers are humans, just like the rest of us and the Police Service has a few officers who shouldn’t be servicing the community. This is no different then some doctors, nurses, mechanics, teachers…you get the idea! So, let get back to the real issue. If we want to live in a safer community and have better service then we need to pay for it…nothing is free people. Furthermore, my understanding is that the 20 officers won’t even replace the officers who are retiring.

  21. Patricia Anne December 19, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Thank-you Terry for standing up for the taxpayers. We just cannot afford the increases that the police are asking for. I wish more of your co-workers would do the same. How many of us in the private sector have these increases per year, mine are frozen for good, after my husband put in 35yrs at Stelco.

Comments are closed.

Contact Info

71 Main St West

Phone: (905)546-2712

Fax: (905)546-2535

Web: TerryWhitehead.ca