BCGEU says expanded sheriff duties will generate revenue, save money and improve road safety

January 16, 2012

The BCGEU is calling on the B.C. Government to assign additional duties to the B.C. Sheriff Services as cost saving and revenue generating measures. The union believes such a move would also improve road safety, alleviate delays in courts and free up other police forces to focus on the Criminal Code.

“Our research tells us money can be saved if sheriffs take on other duties such as traffic and warrant delivery,” said BCGEU President Darryl Walker. “Our sheriffs, who are highly trained and skilled peace officers, could step into these roles. Fourteen sheriffs have already been trained in traffic enforcement at the Justice Institute of B.C. and they’re ready to go.”

Currently, there are no full-time law enforcement agencies ensuring the delivery of warrants. According to the government, there are currently more than 7,000 outstanding warrants in B.C. Because sheriffs work around the province, they could easily take over this responsibility, which would fit neatly into their current role. The cost saving would come from police officers being freed up from warrant delivery services to deal with more serious crimes.

On the revenue generating side, having sheriffs do traffic duty would improve road safety and provincial revenue.

“In Alberta, sheriffs handle traffic duties alongside the RCMP.  In 2009-2010, this initiative generated $111 million in revenue. More than half went into general revenue. We think the B.C. Government could benefit financially from adopting a similar approach,” said Walker.

Week two of bargaining between the BCGEU and B.C. Government begins in Victoria on Tuesday, January 17. The union is seeking a new contract for more than 25,000 thousand members who work directly for the government.

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