Re: "Why we need a Richmond police force," Opinion, Dec. 7.
I would like to thank (Coun. Derek) Dang for his letter listing all the good things that we would realize if we had our very own police department.
But while I like to hear about such things, I am a dollars and cents kind of guy. I need to know the cost, and I was unable to find a bottom line in his column. So I did some research.
Mr. Dang says that currently we pay 90 per cent of police costs. A first-class RCMP officer makes $79,308 per year and we are responsible for 90 per cent of that. His counterpart at the Vancouver Police Department makes $84,904 per year and we would be responsible for 100 per cent of that amount. That means we will pay $13,527 more for each member, each year.
The Richmond detachment has about 229 members so that works out to be $3,097,683 that we would have to pay to make up the difference in wage. That is just one example of cost to be considered.
Where would we find the members? Sure, some Mounties may stay, but if they do they would be required to abandon their pensions. They cannot be transferred from the federal plan to a municipal pension plan. Certainly they would have to consider that. We could recruit. One of our neighbouring cities who has its own municipal police force put the cost of attracting and testing a recruit at $5,500 for each successful applicant. We would need about 229 or so. Right now the RCMP pays 100 per cent of the recruiting costs.
Finally, I seem to recall that every year the Richmond RCMP return a budget surplus to the city; I cannot recall the last time the VPD were able to keep within their original budget.
I have an open mind, but I believe all levels of government must be open and their actions should be visible to the taxpayers. I cannot believe that Mr. Dang has not looked at the numbers.
He must disclose his calculations with respect to the expected operating costs and the estimated start-up costs of a new municipal police force.
Scott Stewart Richmond
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