Andrew Dreschel has another good column on the Hamilton police budget in the Spec. Here's some interesting details:
"The chief responded that a target of 3 per cent would not only mean
killing his request for 20 new officers, it would also mean axing 19
current staff and force him to review his legal options.
De Caire is clearly indicating he’s prepared to appeal to the Ontario
Civilian Police Commission on the grounds the cuts would prevent him
from providing adequate protection to the community.
The Police Services Act doesn’t give chiefs authority to go over the heads of their board and council on budget matters.
But Thomas Bell, lawyer for the police commission, notes that
reductions to a police force do require the commission’s consent and
challenges to downsizing a force can be triggered by anyone from
civilians to police officers."
I've said it before and I'll say it again, one place to start to find cuts would be the $600K mounted unit. De Caire could freeze his own salary (I'm not sure if he already has but his salary increased on the sunshine list from 2010 to 2011 and we don't have the 2012 data until March) and maybe also the top brass. This may not be possible under current laws for the police, but it would be a good start.
It will be interesting to see how things go at a full council vote. I can't see Ancaster councilor Lloyd Ferguson voting for a big increase, nor ward 1's MacHattie. Frankly I can't really see a lot of the suburban councilors going for it, as their constituents likely are more concerned about tax increases and probably view the police as more of a downtown issue.