Police chief calls for more officers to fight crime in Burlington, Oakville, Milton, Halton Hills


Published October 27, 2023 at 12:04 pm

halton police

Halton’s chief of police wants to hire more officers to combat crime across the region.

In presenting the police budget yesterday (Oct. 26), Chief Steve Tanner said the additional officers are needed to meet the rise in crime that comes with a growing population.

On the table is his desire to hire 49 more officers, of which 28 will be assigned to frontline patrol duties. His plan also calls for the hiring of 24 new civilian members for the department.

The new hirings are part of a $204. 8 million budget presented to the Halton Police Services Board yesterday. The proposed budget calls for an increase of $17.8 million to operate in 2024.

The budget still has to go before Halton Region councillors for approval.

In presenting his request to the board, Tanner pointed out that as the population increases in Halton the number of calls officers respond to is also on the rise.

“There is no doubt that the population of Halton will continue to significantly increase,” Tanner said pointing out that the ratio of police officers to population has declined. “We need to build that backup. If we don’t start to build up our numbers now…we will face a much more significant need for officers and civilians in the future.”

Along with the 28 additional patrol officers the department also wants to increase the number of homicide investigators as well as create a strike team that can deal with auto theft or human trafficking.

“Whatever the (crime) trends may be we want a strike team ready to be able to react,” he said.

As for the frontline officers, Deputy Chief Roger Wilkie said these officers are needed for the day-to-day duties and are responsible for emergencies, crisis response and engaging with the community.

“They are the face of our organization,” Wilkie said.

Wilkie added that the police service is currently stretched thin with officers being relied upon to perform more duties each day.

He said this has caused “burnout” where officers are becoming less available for extra work.

“They are not signing up for overtime, they want to be home with their families. That’s a reality and we support that but we need the additional officers to keep up our staffing levels,” Wilkie said.




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