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Regional Police have exceeded their overtime budget by $1.8 million

Police Chief Bryan Larkin says high-priority cases are having an impact on front-line officers
File photo. WRPS Headquarters in Cambridge. Erin Anderson/KitchenerToday

Waterloo Regional Police officers are literally working around the clock, and that's racking up some hefty overtime bills.

The service's overtime is over budget this year by an estimated $1.82 million, or 33,563 hours.

That's up year-over-year, and part of the reason is high priority crimes, according to Chief Bryan Larkin.

"Much of it is driven by front-line patrol," explains Larkin. "We've had a series of major crime investigations that are complex. If you take, for example, the sexual serial predator investigation. It's a significant investment in resources, it's a high-priority crime, so we have to resource that significantly, our investigative team literally worked around the clock."

Larkin says the latest homicides have also had a large impact, especially on front-line patrol.

While the $1.8 million may seem like a big number, the service is expecting to close 2019 with a $900,000 dollar surplus, or 0.5 per cent of the total budget.

Chief Larkin says he's mainly concerned about his officers' health. 

"My one concern, primarily, is around wellness," says Larkin. "We know that when people work extensively and long hours, the cumulative impact of what they see on the front line -- it does lead to enhanced impact on occupational stress."

Indeed, occupational stress injuries (OSIs) are the leading claim to the Worplace Insurance Safety Board (WSIB) from members of Regional Police.

Larkin says the service has an overtime review underway to try to reduce front-line calls.

Regional Police are facing a shortfall this year of around $800,000 dollars due to a new, re-aligned "Community Safety and Policing" grant (CSP) program.


Ben Eppel

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