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Councillors want more focus from police on traffic enforcement

Several councillors voiced their concern that the 2018 cop budget doesn't increase resources for traffic complaints.

Police aren't following up regularly on complaints about traffic safety, said several councillors, on Monday

Tamar Harris / Metro

Police aren't following up regularly on complaints about traffic safety, said several councillors, on Monday

The 2018 police budget isn’t going to do enough to meet community demands about traffic enforcement, say a number of city councillors. 

On Monday, the Police Services Board met to discuss the 2018 budget, marking the first serious committee scrutiny Mayor Jim Watson’s budget has undergone. Several councillors voiced their concern that the budget won’t do enough to respond to the kinds of complaints they hear on a daily basis. 

“I hear about traffic concerns throughout the city,” said Coun. Keith Egli, chair of the transportation committee. “The common question seems to be: where are the police? Where is the enforcement?” 

Coun. Riley Brockington, who has identified traffic as a major issue among his constituents, also wanted to know what police were doing to respond to the high volume of calls his office receives.

“We don’t see dedicated resources, which we approved, going to this, and I want to know why,” he asked police chief Charles Bordeleau. “We continue to raise this issue.” 

The police want the public to submit their complaints through their online reporting service, so that they can analyze the data and deploy officers more efficiently. But that doesn’t stop residents from doing what might seem natural and calling their local councillor to complain about problem streets. 

Egli said that it has created a disconnect between residents and the police, who are not always responding to those complaints. 

“What you’re saying to us is, if a complaint flows through the councillor’s office [...] that that is something police will take up,” asked Egli. “Because we’ve been told, previously, that that’s not the case.” 

But Bordeleau said that police can’t respond to every complaint that residents have; more data and more analysis is often required.

“Simply a call saying you’ve got speeding cars on Sablewood Drive, and that’s it? There’s more analysis that needs to be done,” he said. “I don’t expect someone to be out there in the community tailing cars all the time.” 

But councillors concerned about traffic enforcement appeared disappointed that very few of the 25 new police officers hired this year, nor the 90 that the police plan to hire over the next three years, are being directed specifically toward traffic issues.

Most, said Bordeleau, will go to the front lines, though he says that the increased hiring rate will free up more time for cops to respond to safety complaints. 

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