Responding to the announcement that the B.C. government has signed an agreement-in-principle with Public Safety Canada for another 20 years of RCMP services, Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook says it’s important that an agreement has been reached.
“Policing represents one of our largest single budget items. Obviously the contract plays a significant role in importance as we move forward,” Cook says, pointing out that more than $3 million annually is spent on policing the community, representing about one fifth of the City’s total operating budget. Cook handles the policing portfolio and notes she is committed to ensuring services continue to be delivered in the most efficient and financially responsible way.
“Keeping our community safe is a top priority.”
Looking back to the beginning of her first term as mayor, Cook says she and the council realized some changes were necessary.
During a special meeting held two days after the inaugural meeting in 2008, city council authorized hiring two additional RCMP support positions. “We knew we needed to quickly change things and do things differently and provide extra support. We felt it was a top priority and three years later we’re reaping some of those benefits with our huge reduction in crime.”
Williams Lake RCMP Sgt. Rick LeBeuf says it is always a good thing when long-term policing contracts are put in place, adding most of the members were confident that an agreement could be reached.
“The pending contract has not affected our ability to continue to provide the same level of service to our community,” LeBeuf says. The tentative agreement contains important new management provisions and includes a two-year opt-out clause and a five-year review, says the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.