'There are over 40,000 outstanding warrants waiting to be served in B.C. .' - BCGEU's Dean Purdy.
Vancouver (7 Aug. 2009) - The British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) says more resources to deal with gang violence in Metro Vancouver can be made available by expanding the role of sheriffs.
The union is urging the province to allow sheriffs to take over minor police duties – such as serving outstanding warrants – thus freeing police forces to turn their attention to more serious work such as gangs.
The BCGEU first recommended the change to the province in March.
"Alberta moved to the new sheriff model in 2006 and it's worked out very well for them both from an economical and operational stand point," says Dean Purdy, chair of the union's corrections and sheriffs services component.
"In fact they've recently expanded their duties to include a gang task force. We can train sheriffs much quicker than police officers, and there are substantial cost savings for taxpayers in this model."
After receiving no response from the province in March the union has now put forward another request for a meeting with Mike de John, B.C.'s attorney general. Purdy says he is hopeful this time that the government will be "receptive to discussing our proposal."
There are over 40,000 outstanding warrants waiting to be served in B.C.
"This is a model that can help achieve the provincial government's objectives quickly, at a reduced cost to taxpayers," says Purdy.
"It would also help address the recruitment and retention issue in the sheriff corps, by expanding job opportunities and responsibilities. It's a win-win situation for B.C. Our sheriffs in B.C. are highly trained, skilled peace officers who can step into this role quite easily," he says.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE
BCGEU says sheriffs could ease police workload