Langley Township and City councils will have to mull over a request for 15 new RCMP officers for the local detachment during the 2020 budget process.
“It’s something council would have to look at,” said Township Mayor Jack Froese, who said the Township has been asked for a dozen officers.
Supt. Murray Power gave a presentation at Monday afternoon’s council meeting on the rapidly-growing population in Langley, primarily in the Township.
Power noted that although more officers have been added to the detachment, the ratio of officers to population has been getting out of kilter.
When Power took over Langley RCMP detachment five years ago, there was one officer for every 800 residents. That’s now closer to one officer for every 900 residents, Power said.
If the Township does approve more RCMP officers, council will have to consider whether they’re added all at once or phased in, Froese said.
The Township’s budget process is just getting under way, with meetings this month and more scheduled for January as council debates draft budgets and priorities for spending in the next year.
The budget will be set by early spring.
He noted the Township is always increasing the strength of the detachment.
In late 2018, four new positions were funded by the Township, and in most recent years, between two and four extra officers have been added.
There are currently 196 RCMP officer positions in the Langley detachment, and six of those are not currently filled, said Cpl. Holly Largy, spokesperson for the local RCMP.
There are a few other positions temporarily empty due to illness.
Meanwhile, Mayor Val van den Broek said the City has thus far not been asked to contribute more officers.
“We haven’t heard anything,” she said.
The City’s population has been growing much more slowly than the Township’s, she noted.
“Their population is increasing, ours isn’t, at such a rapid pace,” she said.
The Township and City have added new officers regularly over the last decade. The Township has added between one and four RCMP officers most years over the past few years, and the City has funded the filling of vacancies on the force, van den Broek said.