Ahead of this month’s budget deliberations by Calgary City Council, the Calgary Police Commission is proposing an adjustment of $40 million in this year and next to the police service’s budget.
The adjustments would come through three main changes: $10 million savings through eliminating 60 new positions proposed for 2021, $10 million reallocation for exploring alternative call response models, and $20 million absorption of COVID-related impacts.
That will represent a four per cent drop in the 2021 operating budget, from $414 million to $396 million. The Calgary Police Service (CPS) is also planning to cover an expected $8-million revenue shortfall in 2021.
The commission released the report to the public before the city’s entire budget adjustment report will be released on Monday, and following Tuesday’s successful notice of motion to establish a Community Safety Investment Framework including a possible $10 million reallocation from the police.
But the $10 million in the commission’s report would only dedicate $8 million to explore “models of system integration” with partners from health, social services, justice and police. The remaining $2 million would be earmarked for a CPS review of its response to calls.
The commission says not filling the 60 new positions in 2021 will make the citizen-to-officer ratio “worse,” but CPS intends to mitigate the flat growth through “alternative call response models” like those they committed to in its anti-racism report.
The police commission also expects adding no new police positions will impact investigation timelines and says it will “be a challenge to maintain response times with this reduction.”
CPS will, however, continue replacing employees lost to retirement. And diversifying the workforce will be slowed because of fewer hirings.
CPS salaries and wages make up 86 per cent of the police budget, negotiated between unions and the city.
The commission’s report said it expects the number of calls will stay roughly the same, will have to attend fewer non-emergency calls for service through alternative call response models, and will generally face increased demand with current staffing levels.
A revised city budget for 2021 will be released Monday, and city council will make decisions on all adjustments in the last week of November.
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