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Sunday July 5 2015
8:52 AM EDT
2014-08-30 at 13:12

Homicide investigations spell bad news for police service's budget

Deputy chief Andy Hay says police budget hard to manage this year.
Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
Deputy chief Andy Hay says police budget hard to manage this year.
By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

The city shouldn't expect good news from the police budget with seven homicides to-date so far this year.

Homicide investigations are the most complex and time-consuming aspect of work for the Thunder Bay Police Service. That means detectives, officers, investigators, support staff and others every time there is a homicide.

"All working around the clock, which means a huge impact on overtime dollars and pressures," Deputy Chief Andy Hay said.

"They are the highest priority investigations that we undertake and we have to do them  to a provincial standard."

Depending on the investigation, overtime costs alone can range from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"These seven investigations are going to put a great deal of pressure on our budget. We are attempting to manage it. How it's going to end up at the end of the year I don't' know but I don't expect it's going to be a real good news item for our budget with this many homicides to-date," Hay said.

Police also have to hold scenes during investigations, sometimes for days, which also drives up costs.

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Jack Frost says:
This current system is obviously broken and is not working, much like city hall and the ever growing corporation of Thunderless Bay !!

How do other Canadian municipalities with similar population sizes compare with their police and fire staff numbers and costs ?!?!

Time to bring in a team of efficiency experts to look at ways to reduce the numbers of ballooning staff and soaring costs so that the corporation of Thunderless Bay can stay afloat before it's too late...
9/2/2014 8:40:00 PM
snotzky says:
Here's an idea. When the police are putting in their budget for the next year, why not ask for money for these labour intensive calls that will always be happening? And also put in extra for these crime scenes that the police are constantly at for days on end. So police, please quit your whining about the budget and warnings that their short of money already. just put in a budget that correctly reflects your needs for the year. Or is there kick backs for low cost budgets?
9/2/2014 8:33:14 AM
rapaul76 says:
In fairness to the police officers, the problem is the drug/alcohol abuse and mental health issues in this city. These problems put a strain on the officers. Imagine going to a call, detaining someone and having to sit with them for 4-6 hours in the ER. When done, you still have to go to the station to fill out paper work (OT). Meanwhile there aren't enough cops on the street because of so many in the ER. The police department has to compensate by having additional officers out patrolling which impacts the budget.
9/2/2014 8:25:03 AM
stopthehandouts says:
I would have to agree with a pay freeze for awhile. NAPS officers working up north often alone in brutal conditions havn't had a pay increase or even a contract in 5 years and counting. TBPS does a fine job don't get me wrong but I agree the regular citizen cant absorb anymore tax increases to support the growing budget.
9/1/2014 6:41:11 PM
Curious says:
Maybe we should consider putting the firemen on the police budget. They don't do much and get paid ridiculous wages and benefits. Maybe we need to rethink the need for so many firemen, after all, if you ask each one how many fires the attend in one year, more often than not it is only - maybe two - but they sure can mow the lawns, wash vehicles, and stand in the doorways watching the traffic and girls go by! They take construction and reno jobs away from the people that make a living on that. So, To help with the police budget, either train the firemen to work as police as well and give the police force a large chunk of their budget since taxpayers are not getting anywhere near their moneys' worth from them. This would certainly support the police budget!
9/1/2014 10:51:59 AM
eventscentre says:
The absolute last thing we should do is cancel the events centre. Let's just all calm down and quit with the panicking. If there are no murders next year and it hardly snows, should we suddenly decide to build two events centres? Every time there's a cost overrun somewhere, the whiners want to cancel everyone's fun. We go forward with this, and hope for the best.
9/1/2014 10:43:43 AM
timeforchange says:
It must be the leaders of the police service criticizing my earlier comment. Are these people suggesting that when the budget is set, there is no contingency for serious calls built into the budget. These types of calls are not a surprise. They don't seem to take any steps to mitigate the impact of them on the budget.

What takes place is the continued practice of paying out the cash because the leaders of this sacred cow, ( did I use punctuation correctly ) do not have any incentive to meet budgetary targets. One incentive might be to actually meet the budget to keep their jobs.

As I have said in the past.

This city's crime rates continues to rank high compared to the rest of the country.

The violence rate is very poor compared to the rest of Canada. All for a budget that rarely comes in on target while the Chief is paid over 200 grand a year. Yet some of you think this is okay. That's a pretty good gig he's got going there. I don't think its okay and lots of others do not as well
8/31/2014 10:59:35 PM
fuzzball says:

Sure we all stay over at work 15,20,30 sometimes 40 minutes without pay, no problem. However to work double shifts for weeks sometimes months at a time for free while working on a homicide is ridiculous. Obviously you dont work for a union or an association. Your also telling me you have never run a personal errand during business hours. Yeah right.
8/31/2014 9:01:45 PM
fuzzball says:
lol lol lol How in the world would you budget for a homicide(s. just can't stop laughing. that comment made my day. thx
8/31/2014 6:23:51 PM
Molly says:

How can you possibly budget for events that may or may not occur. The City has periods where no homicides have occurred and times when 10 have occurred .
Some homicides are resolved quickly when others take years or even decades.

Sadly some readers here are conditioned to the perception created by Hollywood or TV. In that world a homicide occurs ,is investigated and a trial all occur in 30 minutes.
Not a reality in any sense
8/31/2014 2:58:21 PM
unknowncronik says:
Put a wage freeze on the cops to help pay for these extra costs then.
8/31/2014 11:22:17 AM
Cletus Van Damme says:
Could always pick up some extra cash by manufacturing needles right here in the city. TBay obviously imports thousands of dollars worth of them each month, so why not cash in on the demand by localizing the supply?
8/31/2014 10:46:45 AM
timeforchange says:
Can someone tell me when was the last time the police met their budget?

They are quick to comment that these homicides have been solved quickly. The impact of these on the budget must be far less than others that require weeks of investigative work before arresting a suspect.

Do they not budget for homicides. Given where we live, you would think they would be used to this. What about other serious calls. Are they budgeted for.

This is my understanding of things based on information given to me. We have the largest city budget being run by people with zero business experience. What else can we expect from this place. Year in and year out there is always some reason why they are over budget. MUSICFERET was pretty accurate.

There seems to be zero accountability in this place but for whatever reason, the cops are the sacred cow of this city.
8/31/2014 8:31:34 AM
Decide says:
Good usage of the overused "sacred cow" and "business experience". Very original.
Might I make a few suggestions:
Use punctuation, such as question marks...makes for an easier read.
Don't pose questions that require magic as the solution. How can one budget for homicides without knowing the number? You take a positive-SOLVED homicides, and turn it into a negative.
Since when is policing a business, and why would you want to run it that way? If that's what you want, then have the police do nothing but write tickets to generate vast income for the city-bingo, successful business(I always laugh at that business bit...most are run into the ground by "businessmen").
I too can reference musicferret- police do get paid less in the states, but the cost of living is considerably lower. He or she should make that point instead of leaving it out to make his/her point better.
As for accountability, please don't make me laugh. Tell me of one gov't branch that has more then police?
8/31/2014 2:13:53 PM
reese says:
Reofenders is the biggest problem
No reason to enforce the law if thr court lets the offenders out
Three strikes and you are out
8/31/2014 7:40:09 AM
fuzzball says:
I wouldn't work overtime for free and neither would you. Give the taxpayers a break by cancelling that event center which we can't afford
8/31/2014 6:51:09 AM
RegardingThat says:
Quite often I work overtime for no pay so please don't tell me I wouldn't. I understand many others likely wouldn't, though. Each to their own. And anyway, my reference to overtime was that there are officers abusing it, such as staying longer than is needed and then charging for it or, worse yet, running personal errands before "clocking out." It's fraud and it's at the expense of taxpayers. Like I'd said, addressing overtime fraud won't solve major budget issues but it can't not help.
8/31/2014 7:39:35 PM
RegardingThat says:
It won't solve the entire financial problem but, if resources are of such concern, addressing the abuse of overtime by certain officers would be a start.
8/31/2014 6:35:22 AM
musicferret says:
Every year, we increase the police budget by a large amount, well beyond the growth of the average wage of our taxpayers. And most years, the chief comes back and for reason X, Y, Z, there is a need for more money beyond the already unsustainable increase.

I know we need police, but we need to find some way to respect the taxpayer, and giving out raises like we have been is simply not a possibility any more. We are tapped out.

During the last provincial election, the only thing Hudak said that made any sense is that the endless raises for police and fire departments MUST END, or we will bankrupt our municipalities. Police in the USA are often compensated at a rate that is sometimes 40-50% LESS than our police, as cities found they simply couldn't pay any more.
We don't need to go anywhere near to that far, but a change is needed.
8/30/2014 6:23:57 PM
tiredofit says:
Quote: "olice in the USA are often compensated at a rate that is sometimes 40-50% LESS than our police, as cities found they simply couldn't pay any more. "

This is true, which has also lead to an increase in corrupt police forces all over the US. While I don't have the exact numbers in front of me, I have read a number of articles over the years that state the clear reason for such high corruption in the police file and ranks is clearly due to the lack of pay.

However, with that said, our officers are very well compensated and they could stand to take a pay freeze like the rest of the working class in this country.
8/31/2014 6:51:38 PM
signman says:
The real strain in on the taxpayers.
Municipal taxes are becoming unaffordable to many.
This would include the elderly on fixed incomes and also young families that are just getting by.

The city continues to dump unprecedented amounts of our tax dollars into the waterfront while everything else takes a back seat.

The city has already spent over $4 million dollars on studies relating to the proposed Event Centre. At least half of this amount has been picked up by city taxpayers includoing a recent $1 million dollar cost overrun on phase three.

The police can't ask for anymore money as the city stated they were having difficulty just keeping our roads plowed.

Until we get a city council that knows what our priorities are forget about more money being available for policing.

And please don't ask city taxpayers to pay any more as we just ain't got it.
8/30/2014 2:38:19 PM
moonwolf says:
Better put that event center on hold till we can get a handle on the violence in this city first and foremost!!!!
8/30/2014 1:59:36 PM
djs says:
This is the cost of doing business. We have been fortunate that the homicides have been solved fairly quickly, but we also recognize that the social ills that Thunder Bay is facing are hitting the financial pockets of most social organizations beyond what they had planned. Money has to be spent; more money will need to be found. Cuts in less essential areas may need to be made. We will survive this just as well as we survived the snow last winter--we will complain and whine, but we will buckle down and deal with it and find solutions that will help us next time....
8/30/2014 1:48:04 PM
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