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Waterloo regional police facing questions over staffing report


Some Waterloo regional councillors and residents are raising concerns about a controversial report on Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) staffing levels.

The report, prepared for police by consultant KPMG, recommends WRPS could pay for additional officers using budget surpluses – but the full report, including that recommendation, was not released until after the 2023 budget was already approved.

“It really begs the question of transparency and really raises concerns for me,” Coun. Colleen James told CTV News.

During budget deliberations, regional councillors narrowly approved a $214 million policing budget, including an $18 million increase over the previous year to allow the service to hire 19 new officers.

At the time, regional councillors were provided with only a summary of the KPMG report.

The full report wasn’t released until the end of March.


In its first recommendation, which was not referenced in the summary, KPMG said from 2019 to 2021, the service’s average budget surplus related to staffing was $3.3 million, largely due staff on leave or recruiting delays.

Despite receiving funding to hire 35 new officers in 2022, KPMG said WRPS is “still working to fill the new positions due to broader challenges within policing to recruit.”

The service recorded its largest budget surplus of $4.9 million in 2020 and its smallest budget surplus of $2.1 million in 2019.

“Based on estimated 2023 salary costs, the lowest budget surplus seen in 2019 could equate to approximately 18 additional First Class Constables,” the report said.

“I find it egregious that these numbers were not important enough to be included in the executive summary,” resident Janice Jim told council at Wednesday night’s meeting.

James said she’s concerned that she didn’t see the full report until it was requested by another media outlet, then WRPS posted it online.

“Had counsel been privy to that information when I asked for it, and the time of the budget conversation, we might’ve had a different outcome and saved some taxpayers some money,” James said.


WRPS Chief Mark Crowell faced questions from reporters about the timing of the report’s release following a police board meeting on Wednesday.

“When this report was referenced at budget time, it was made in full transparency,” Crowell said.

According to Waterloo regional police, the report was posted online after their executive leadership team reviewed it and its recommendations.

“In terms of the discussion about the surplus, I do encourage you and all members of the media to actually read the report and to look at the recommendation itself,” Crowell said. “It speaks to the use of surplus funds as a potential option to address an issue related to increasing staffing and bolstering those issues of absenteeism, not as a solution to dealing with a year-over-year operational investments in staffing."

"I believe a lot has been made of this issue, and I would question the reliability of the narrative of it, and I will chalk it up to a lack of adherence to reading the details of this report.”

Some councillors say moving forward they want clear communication from police.

“Chief Crowell should come to regional council and explain what happened. That is the appropriate thing to do,” Coun. Robert Deutschmann said.


A “comprehensive communications plan” will be brought forward to WRPS in May, according to regional chair Karen Redman, at Wednesday night’s council meeting.

“Part of that will be covering off some of the issues we talked about,” Redman said.

In response to the KPMG report, Redman also said: “The fact is consultants bring reports forward and they bring opinions forward and it’s something that the WRPS’ leadership team and the board are analyzing and digesting. I would hope that it is not just taken at face value.”

Redman also said that Chief Crowell is expected to talk to council, likely in September. Top Stories

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