The Timmins Police Service is asking for a budget hike of six per cent next year, despite earlier reports saying the increase was 1.74 per cent. Chief John Gauthier says this is for things like fleet replacement, wage increase and a couple new programs they want to implement next year. He says one of those programs is putting tasers into officer’s hands. Timmins has one of the last police forces in the province to not issue officers with Conducted Energy Weapons, and so the board has decided to roll that out for next year.
Another new program the police are looking at is putting long guns into their cruisers. Mayor Steve Black, who sits on the police board, says this is a safety issue being looked at across the country. He says some of the major events that have happened across Canada involved serious weapons. For example the RCMP officers on the east coast and the War Memorial in Ottawa. Having long guns in the cruisers would be for a “just in case” scenario. Deputy Chief Des Walsh says there are quite a number of police services in Ontario that have equipped officers with the long guns. Walsh says they have an application into the Department of National Defence to be gifted the guns, which cost about $1,200 each. If that happens, the Timmins Police will have to pay for accessories like slings, sights, and ammo.
Also included in that six per cent hike is needed upgrades to their fleet. Gauthier says that includes their court services van, which is five years old and has more than 330,000 km on it. The forensic identification van is a 2001 model, and also needs replacing. Police are also looking to purchase forensic equipment, like a $25,000 light that will show things you wouldn’t see with the naked eye. Currently TPS is borrowing one from the OPP, but Gauthier says they will want that back at some point, and it is necessary for Timmins to own one.
Council is still looking at all of the numbers from each city department before settling on a final budget for 2016.