Sooke council has approved the use of money in its police reserve fund to hire a new RCMP officer.
District councillors voted unanimously for the new position, which RCMP say is necessary to meet a rising demand for both crime response and community policing.
The new officer is expected to arrive in September.
Last year, council also approved a new police officer position. That officer will start his duties next month.
“It’s a great thing for the detachment. It’ll give us a little breathing room,” said Sooke RCMP Staff Sgt. Jeff McArthur.
It costs about $165,000 per year to fund a single police officer. Sooke pays 70 per cent of that cost, or $114,200. The remaining 30 per cent is funded by the province.
“The municipality and all its operations benefit from police, so you know what, as an entity, we should be paying,” Coun. Rick Kasper said
Council’s decision to try to enlist more officers to Sooke’s rapidly growing policing needs isn’t unprecedented, given the town’s population boom that’s expected to reach 15,000 within the next five years.
Besides the 15-person detachment averaging 700 files per member each year, in 2016 the detachment investigated 6,015 files, or cases – a 13.3 per cent increase from 2010, and laid 177 criminal charges.
Everyone does their part too, no one’s idle, McArthur said.
Should everything go smoothly and the new officer starts in September, the detachment would still be at least two officers short from providing 24-hour police coverage in Sooke, a goal that’s passed through several district councils for years.
For now, Sooke Mayor Maja Tait is happy with the detachment’s work.
“I do think the detachment is doing the very best it can with the resources it has, and we’re very grateful for that,” she said.