NPD asks for more officers to offset large overtime payout
The city’s police force is looking for an increase of two more constables, the same amount the service pays out for overtime because it is understaffed.
Nelson Police Department (NPD) chief constable Donovan Fisher made the annual pre-budget ask for city’s police force, which amounted to two first class constables to add to the current total of 21.
He told City council during the Nov. 21 council meeting that the average overtime the NPD paid annually was $215,500, with average ADO and statutory holiday payouts at $61,000.
Fisher said that was an extra $276,500 per year, which essentially pays for two first class constables.
“This does not include annual leave officers have not been able to take and is carried forward,” he said.
Fisher pointed to the 2015 Peter Lepine report — a review of NPD’s request for an increase in resources — that supported the view to increase the force.
“It is reported that the population [of Nelson] increases by an additional 50 per cent during the daytime hours as the city of Nelson is the largest community in the region which draws many people for work, community services, and recreation,” the report noted. “This phenomenon is often referred to by both council and the NPD as the ‘core city phenomenon.’”
Fisher said with the ability to maintain a right-sized and efficient workforce it allows the NPD to further support physical and mental health of officers through the ability to:
- balance and reduce officers’ workload;
- structure a better work-life balance, including time to actually use their allotted leave;
- reduces the risk of staff shortages caused by stress and fatigue;
“Although improving, our department remains in a response-oriented model of policing — a call comes in, and we respond,” said Fisher in his report.
The NPD has one of highest caseloads per officer in the province, as well as the second highest call volume and charge approvals per capita in the province. As well, the NPD has experienced an increase in calls for service of 17 per cent over 2022, and has a crime rate of 67, the second highest in the province.
More to come …