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WRPS’ proposed $214 million budget brought forth to council


Chief Mark Crowell made a presentation at a council meeting Wednesday justifying the proposed $214 million budget for the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS).

This year’s price tag is an $18 million increase compared to last year but Chief Crowell said there’s been an underinvestment in policing and this new budget will allow them to better serve the community.

According to Crowell, the budget will go in part to hiring 19 new officers to meet the demands of the growing population and rise in crime within Waterloo region.

His presentation before council included a look into rising crime rates through 2022 statistics and also highlighted the level of violent crimes over the last year.

Chief Crowell said there has been an increase in shootings, weapons offenses and robberies compared to the year before.

He also broke down several investigations including the personnel and financial resources required.

Chief Crowell also spoke about the need to invest in cyber crime in order to put an end to child pornography and sextortion in the region. He stressed that in order to stop these issues, there needs to be more officer capacity.

As of this year, Chief Crowell said there are 127 officers per 100,000 residents in the region, compared to the 145 officers for the same population in 2012.

Adding in growing demands, such as calls for service related to mental health, Chief Crowell said this budget is responsible, balanced, and integral to public safety and policing.

“We strongly believe there are necessary investments to address the growing violence, victimization, weaponization and the injustices that our members are addressing everyday,” he said. “In turn, we are seeking additional support to provide the level of service that is demanded of us.”

Councillors noted that approving this budget could be a tough ask considering that the region is also investing in services like affordable housing and community-led mental health supports.

"I have a real concern with spending this much money on police services," said Rob Deutschmann, regional councillor. "I'm not opposed to adding to police services because you came forward with recommendations in November that you were comfortable with at that time, and now its ballooned considerably."

Ultimately, regional council will have very little ability to change the budget, only able to approve or reject it.

Despite the concern, Chief Crowell was confident that the service needs the additional resources, adding that the money is would help the service modernized with body-worn cameras and other technology. Top Stories

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