‘We’re prepared to spend the money,’ Lake Country council wants RCMP school liaison

Council wants to see an officer take up the role in the district

Lake Country councillors would like to see a new police officer take on the role of school liaison.

During a budget presentation Thursday night, councillors whole heartily agreed that a liaison in the school system would be beneficial to the district.

Chief financial officer Tanya Garost said residents who provided online feedback said they also wanted more policing in the district.

In the district’s financial budget, there is already funding allocated for an additional officer. A request for an additional officer could come forward in March, Garost said.

Coun. Penny Gambell said having a person in that role provides education to the children and “teaching children (and being proactive) is way better than being reactive.”

READ MORE: Lake Country car thefts ‘crime of opportunity’

Mayor James Baker said a school liaison would be proactive and would help prevent numbers of incarcerations and court costs.

“We’re prepared to spend the money… it’s not just more members, it’s (a dedicated member to that role)” he said. “It would be really good to get that back in operation.”

The district is expected to hit a population of 15,000 in 2021.

As the district continues to grow, the draft financial report recommends adding additional staff including an accounting clerk, two engineers, a landscape construction technician, an RCMP officer, a communications specialist and an occupational health and safety advisor.

The new officer would bring the district’s total up to 13, and would be hired in April. The cost to hire the officer is $181,000 with the district funding 70 per cent.

RELATED: Crime Stoppers’ info on unsolved crimes in Central Okanagan

With the additional officer, the number of police officers in the district would be brought up to 13, making it roughly one officer per 1,000 people, Garost said. Kelowna has one police officer per 700 people.

She suggested that the district asks the Lake Country sergeant how many additional resources are needed to be able to fund a school liaison.

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