News / Vancouver

Vancouver police asks for $11.5 M budget increase

New drug containment facility for handling fentanyl to cost $700k

Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer pauses while responding to questions during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday January 15, 2016.

DARRYL DYCK / The Canadian Press

Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer pauses while responding to questions during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday January 15, 2016.

The Vancouver Police Board is proposing an $11.5-million increase in the force's operating budget.

If approved by city council, the increase would mean a total of nearly $285 million funds for the police force, which would make up a fifth of the City of Vancouver's operating budget for 2018.

Most of the force's money (84 per cent) goes toward salaries and benefits, according to a report prepared for the board. Some of the additional money from next year's budget increase would go toward hiring 30 new police officers and 10 civilian employees, according to the report.

Another $700,000 will go toward creating a facility specifically for handling drug-related materials and or evidence. The funds would allow the police force to renovate space within an existing police building and outfit it with the necessary equipment to protect officers when they handle evidence that may have come into contact with an opioid, especially fentanyl, said VPD spokesperson Sgt. Jason Robillard.

In an emailed statement, he explained that features at the new facility would include fume hoods, an emergency shower, and a monitoring system. The facility also would be self-contained within the building so if there was an exposure incident, staff could isolate it from other areas.

The report estimates the police force's budget will increase by 3.9 per cent in 2019 and an average of 2.2 per cent from 2020 to 2022, paying for an additional 120 officers and 50 civilian members by the end of that time period.

New challenges Vancouver police will likely face in the coming years includes changes in cybercrime, organized crime, and threats from extremists, according to the report.

It also emphasizes the need for additional resources due to the anticipated legalization of marijuana.

The City of Vancouver released its proposed 2018 operating budget of $1.4 billion last week.

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