A proposed Community Safety Officer program review report will go ahead, but not until next year.
City Manager Randy Patrick made a recommendation to council that a report on the progress of that program be presented in November 2019. Council passed a resolution to that effect at Tuesday’s meeting.
Originally, the intention at North Battleford City Hall had been to review the Community Safety Officer program after one year. While it has been more than a year since the municipal CSO officers received their enhanced duties on June 1 2017, Patrick said it’s only been in the last week that final authority for the program came from the province.
“It really has just become fully developed,” said Patrick, who likened the whole process to building a motorcycle and driving it to your destination. “We’ve now got that motorcycle built and we’re on our way.”
In his written memo to council, Patrick stated that by presenting the report at that time it would “provide council with a more balanced appraisal of the assistance that the CSO program is providing the RCMP, and a better understanding of the program’s effectiveness from the public’s point of view.”
“This project is just starting, and just starting to show results,” said Patrick, who emphasized that waiting a year for the report would provide them with a better understanding of what the benefits of the program were.
Patrick also said the review needs to take into account those who are positively impacted, including calls-for-service statistics as well as the responses from downtown business people.
The community safety officer program is already seen as a potential model for other municipalities, particularly as a way to relieve the pressure on the RCMP so their resources would be freed up to focus on more serious offences.
Patrick had also noted that just in the past week, he was receiving calls about the North Battleford program from elsewhere in the province as well as from the Maritimes.
“What we are doing is starting to create a bit of buzz in the municipal world,” he said.