Maple Ridge ‘well served’ by regional police units

Top Mounties tells Maple Ridge council they are the less expensive alternative

The Ridge Meadows RCMP often drawn on the expertise of regional policing units such as the emergency response team.

The Ridge Meadows RCMP often drawn on the expertise of regional policing units such as the emergency response team.

Maple Ridge is served well by the RCMP regional teams, says Metro Vancouver’s second-in-command Mountie, who used to run the Ridge Meadows detachment.

They’re also expensive and becoming more so, Maple Ridge council heard at its June 18 meeting.

RCMP Chief Supt. Janice Armstrong said integrated teams such as the dog squad and emergency response team usually are comprised of more experienced officers, who get paid more and who also have to train regularly.

Pension contributions, salary hikes, employment insurance contributions and administration are increasing the costs of such teams, even though they’re not adding more bodies.

According to a report to council, Maple Ridge’s contribution to the Emergency Response Team, (half paid for by Metro Vancouver cities, with B.C. and Ottawa paying the other half) will jump from $179,173 in 2009 to a projected $293,425 this year.

The same is true for the Integrated Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Service team that specializes in investigating traffic crashes. That’s going up from $98,612 three year ago to a projected $139,648 this year.

Armstrong said the force may use civilians for some of those duties, to reduce costs, as it currently does in the Integrated Forensics Identification Service, for which costs are going up about $100,000 over the same time period.

Investigating murders can be a pricey projects.

A month-long murder investigation can cost about $133,000 in salaries, overtime and expenses.

If it stretches into a year-long case, the cost is just under a million dollars.

Council heard that when someone is killed, police focus as many resources as possible in an attempt to preserve as much evidence as possible.

Assist.-Commissioner, Norm Lipinski told councillors that the recent case of murder suspect Angus David Mitchell, 26 who was shot and killed by police May 30 on a north Maple Ridge road, involved multiple teams, from the Police Dog Service, the police helicopter, and the Emergency Response Team.

“Our primary concern was to have that person surrender peacefully,” said Lipinski.

But Mitchell replied using lethal force and police did as well, he added.

“As a result, lives were saved.”

He pointed out that complex murder investigation that had international connections, “could break your budget.”

Mayor Ernie Daykin pointed out that other municipalities have asked why Maple Ridge was the first to sign on to the new 20-year contract with the RCMP.

The district has “great comfort in its relationship with the RCMP,” he added.

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