Reducing Policing Costs & Collective Agreements

Facts

This week I will attempt to address two questions posed by concerned citizens. Roger asks, “What is the Midland police doing to reduce costs?” and Jim asks, “Why is the police contract good for Midland residents?”


1. What are the Police doing to Reduce Costs?

As a police service we are well aware of the costs every community is facing. We also know there must be a focus on the underlying causes of victimization including mental health, addictions, wealth (poverty, homelessness, unemployment), and low education levels; and recognize that solutions to these issues also have a cost.

At the same time we are challenged by the increasing complexities of criminal investigations, court proceedings, and the rising community expectations of police. Similar to Health and Education, costs are steadily growing. This chart demonstrates the increases per capita in all three sectors.

However, we also understand that everyone is facing challenges and excuses are "a dime a dozen". Therefore, our Service has, and is, taking real action to free up resources for the health of the community. The Midland Police Service has made a number of significant cuts to staffing levels including the outsourcing of dispatch services, and the reduction from 27 to 24 officers. Our Service now has one of the lowest contingents of officers based on population (See Appendix ‘A’).

The Midland Police Budget has consistently been between 23% and 26% of the total Town budget dating back to 2007 (see below). 2014 to 2016 will see increases due to severance costs etc., but these staffing reductions will bring long-term savings for the Town. Unlike other types of service, police cannot reduce our hours of operation or reduce service levels below standard. Our citizens expect and deserve prompt police response, and police are mandated to provide 24 hour per day service. As an example, our downtown safety plan was recently accepted by Midland Council and requires a response time of 5 minutes to serious incidents. We are actually responding a bit faster than that, but cutting staff further would not allow us to meet this target or properly respond to serious investigations. (A recent review of serious crime revealed our officers were responding in just over 3 ½ minutes to serious calls, anywhere in the Town.)

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Tax Levy ($) 14,072,426 14,918,660 15,403,843 16,182,843 17,078,580 17,253,901 17,729,710 17,854,598 18,204,076
Police
Portion ($)
3,261,200 3,290,810 3,432,138 3,873,020 4,264,996 4,348,480 4,593,201 4,764,299 5,132,275
Police as
% of Levy
23% 22% 22% 24% 25% 25% 26% 27% 28%




2. Why is the recent police contract (collective agreement) good for Midland?

In addition to the steps mentioned above, our officers have also accepted a contract knowing it would place them below many comparators. For example, the 2015 wage settlement appears to be the smallest, in-year cost increase of any of the 30 police services that had settled a contract. Our Members continue to recognize that police wages are going up and the community is struggling financially, so they have settled for less than they likely would have received at arbitration (See Appendix ‘B’).


APPENDIX A - Ratio of Officers to population

Municipality Uniformed Population Officer Ratio
Smiths Falls 25 9,623 1 : 385
Gananoque 13 5,554 1 : 427
Shelburne 12 5,546 1 : 462
Wawa 7 3,245 1 : 464
Dryden 18 8,489 1 : 472
Hanover 16 7,580 1 : 474
Wingham 6 2,870 1 : 478
Owen Sound 47 22,954 1 : 488
Windsor 443 222,170 1 : 502
Toronto 5,400 2,743,738 1 : 508
Saugeen Shores 24 12,203 1 : 508
Espanola 10 5,273 1 : 527
Thunder Bay 218 117,029 1 : 537
Timmins 78 42,821 1 : 549
Deep River 8 4,434 1 : 554
Stirling-Rawdon 9 5,043 1 : 560
Cornwall 83 47,357 1 : 571
Barrie 241 141,031 1 : 585
Sault Ste. Marie 131 77,096 1 : 589
Brantford 161 96,568 1 : 600
Belleville 84 50,504 1 : 601
Woodstock 62 37,439 1 : 604
Port Hope 21 12,687 1 : 604
West Grey 21 12,730 1 : 606
Brockville 38 23,215 1 : 611
Kingston 205 126,284 1 : 616
Lindsay (Kawartha Lakes) 40 24,712 1 : 618
Peterborough 132 82,019 1 : 621
Cobourg 31 19,269 1 : 622
Stratford 51 31,708 1 : 622
Sudbury Regional 258 162,892 1 : 631
Aylmer 12 7,599 1 : 633
Niagara Region 701 445,363 1 : 635
North Bay 93 59,520 1 : 640
London 598 383,781 1 : 642
St. Thomas 60 38,787 1 : 646
Hamilton 834 540,234 1 : 648
Peel Regional 1,941 1,298,905 1 : 669
Sarnia 110 74,051 1 : 673
Guelph 186 126,106 1 : 678
Chatham-Kent 159 108,162 1 : 680
Ottawa 1,320 909,862 1 : 689
York Regional 1,549 1,069,409 1 : 690
Midland 24 16,572 1 : 691
West Nipissing 20 13,937 1 : 697
Waterloo Regional 750 530,248 1 : 707
Durham Regional 848 631,270 1 : 744
Amherstburg 29 22,261 1 : 768
Orangeville 37 28,955 1 : 783
Halton Regional 656 518,660 1 : 791
Strathroy-Caradoc 27 21,565 1 : 799
LaSalle 34 28,086 1 : 826
South Simcoe 70 59,571 1 : 851

Note:

  • The provincial average is one officer for every 615 citizens. Midland would need to hire three more officers to reach the average.
  • According to statistics Canada small urban communities have higher crime rates than rural or large urban communities and therefore receive more calls per capita. Midland is a small urban community. These statistics also do not consider community wealth (or lack of) that also influences crime and victimization.
  • Table prepared by the Midland Police Association



APPENDIX B - Wage Comparison

Municipality Population 2014 2015
Barrie 141,031 90,837 93,349
Orangeville 28,955 90,614 93,333
Sarnia 74,051 90,408 93,141
Sault Ste. Marie 77,096 93,141
Toronto 2,743,738 90,621 93,127
Peel Regional 1,298,905 90,355 93,126
York Regional 1,069,409 90,621 93,022
Halton Regional 518,660 90,054 92,961
Woodstock 37,439 90,352 92,854
Stratford 31,708 90,364 92,849
LaSalle 28,086 90,090 92,812
Niagara Region 445,363 90,246 92,516
South Simcoe 59,571 90,508 92,318
Hamilton 540,234 90,551 91,909
Brantford 96,568 90,507 91,864
Espanola 5,273 89,103 91,796
Shelburne 5,546 88,636 91,765
Cobourg 19,269 89,306 91,539
Gananoque 5,554 88,513 91,278
Belleville 50,504 89,470 91,259
Port Hope 12,687 89,192 90,976
Saugeen Shores 12,203 88,924 90,976
Strathroy-Caradoc 21,565 88,656 90,872
St. Thomas 38,787 88,068 90,710
Aylmer 7,599 87,998 90,638
Midland (SEE NOTE BELOW) 18,353 87,967 90,623 (89,276)
Cornwall 47,357 89,138 90,476
Chatham-Kent 108,162 89,233 90,349
Deep River 4,434 88,119 90,246
Amherstburg 22,261 90,089 90,088
Brockville 23,215 89,864
Dryden 8,489 86,921
Durham Regional 631,270 90,057
Guelph 126,106 90,350
Hanover 7,580 88,584
Kingston 126,284 90,293
Lindsay (Kawartha Lakes) 24,712 89,264
London 383,781 90,218
North Bay 59,520 89,862
OPP 90,621
Ottawa 909,862 90,245
Owen Sound 22,954 89,970
Peterborough 82,019 90,420
Smiths Falls 9,623
Stirling-Rawdon 5,043
Sudbury Regional 162,892 90,076
Thunder Bay 117,029 90,238
Timmins 42,821 89,570
Waterloo Regional 530,248 90,348
Wawa 3,245
West Grey 12,730 88,718
West Nipissing 13,937
Windsor 222,170 90,300
Wingham 2,870 83,509

Note:

  • Midland just ratified the 2015 to 2017 collective agreements.
  • In 2015, Midland was the 5th lowest paid of all Police Services that had settled agreements. Since they received 1% of their pay raise on the last day of the year, the actual salary paid in 2015 was arguably the lowest at $89,726
  • $89,726 for 2015 is lower than 30 police services received in 2014
  • Table prepared by the Midland Police Association
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