WINNIPEG – Higher expenses and lower revenue have led to a shortfall for Winnipeg Police.
The shortfall is in the neighbourhood of $6.5-million.
Revenue is lower from photo radar, which could mean people are adjusting their driving habits.
As for the increase in expenses, it’s partly to blame on higher salaries and pensions.
Police board chair Scott Gillingham says he’s long been worried about this.
“One of the areas that I believe needs to be looked at in this upcoming collective agreement is the issue of pensions, specifically looking at overtime as a pensionable income. I also think the rate of salary increase needs to be looked at.”
What tends to happen is that officers can bank a bunch of overtime in their last five years on the force, which then inflates their pension.
“Do I believe that police officers should get a good salary? Absolutely. They do very important work. They do dangerous work,” says Gillingham. “Should they receive a good pension? I believe they should, but overtime as a pensionable income is something that I believe should be reviewed.”
As for the reduced revenue, Gillingham is ok with it as long as it means our roads are safer.
“It has to be about community safety, it shouldn’t be about revenue. I know the battle goes back and forth, people think this is a cash grab. If we can make our school zones safer by people slowing down, then that’s really what this kind of enforcement is about.”
He also points to salary increases and the move into their new headquarters as reasons for higher expenses.