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Police asking for additional $760k in 2023 budget


The Saskatoon Police Service presented its 2023 budget to city council on Monday with a request of an additional $760,000.

With the city currently working through its first two-year budget cycle, SPS increased its original budget proposal from 2021 with three notable alterations.

Natural gas, fuel price increases and other inflationary pressures accounted for $410,000 of the additional ask while moving the alternate response unit from a pilot project to a regularly deployed unit accounts for the remaining $350,000 change in the budget proposal.

“I think the economic environment sort of dictated what we could ask for coming into the budget. There are no end of needs in our police service and certainly we would add policing staff if we could, but we tried our best to maintain the budget that we proposed in 2021,” Chief Troy Cooper said after presenting the budget to council.

Cooper said the SPS will conduct a full staffing review in the new year to see where the service’s needs can be best directed for the next two-year budget.

The proposed budget includes adding 11 full-time equivalent positions. Three of those positions will be added to the Internet Child Exploitation unit, two for the trafficking response unit and the six officers as part of the alternative response pilot program will be added as full time equivalent positions.

With no decision made on the SPS budget as of Monday evening, multiple councillors voiced plenty of support for the alternative response unit.

Launched in June 2021, the alternative response officers work with vulnerable people and help connect them to community services. The officers also assist in a variety of other ways like transporting arrested people and taking complaints from members of the public.

Cooper said it’s the unit’s ability to spend more time with community members and familiarity with the area compared to an average officer working in the downtown area.

“I think the alternative response officers filled a gap that was missing in the community, particularly as we saw some of the growing social issues,” Cooper said.

The total net funding of the SPS budget is $113,724,000, up from $112,964,000. Top Stories

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