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Dan Humano: VPD report ‘has nothing to do’ with police budget: chief

Analysis: The release of the VPD’s ‘Social Impact Audit’ comes weeks before the Mayor and Council, backed by the Vancouver Police Union, review the department’s budget.

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While there is widespread consensus that things are not going well in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, there is strong disagreement about what to do about it.

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Unfortunately, that’s been true for decades, but that idea was dashed again on Wednesday when the Vancouver Police Department announced a “social impact audit.”

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Commissioned by the police department and produced by Alberta-based HelpSeeker Technologies, the report aggregates spending on Vancouver’s “social safety net” and compares it, among other things, to the size of the police budget.

Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer said for years the department has sought better coordination and provision of services for the most vulnerable members of society, including those with mental illness and addictions. Told.

Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer on November 9, 2022 (NICK PROCAYLO/PNG)
Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer on November 9, 2022 (NICK PROCAYLO/PNG) Photo by NICK PROCAYLO /PNG

VPD officials said the “social impact audit” and accompanying police summary report were classified, but the agency said Wednesday after Global News reported on aspects of HelpSeeker’s findings Monday night. held a press conference and released both documents.

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“We are not the first to say it, nor are we the first to say it,” Palmer said. identified.”

That journey includes establishing a steering committee with community partners and various levels of government, and “creating a single, centralized entity to oversee and coordinate the services of the Downtown East Side.” says Palmer.

“Police should not be in charge of social safety nets,” Palmer said. Instead, the state government is perhaps best positioned to appoint someone to a “commissioner” or a similar role downtown he oversees various programs on and around the East Side.

As Palmer mentioned, this is not a completely new idea. His 2009 VPD study, Project Lockstep, recommended the establishment of a steering committee that included “the most vulnerable directors.” Since then, politicians have called for the creation of an “Emperor of the Downtown East Side.”

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On Wednesday, Palmer said there is a good opportunity for change, with a new Vancouver mayor taking office this week and a new prime minister next week.

Its new prime minister, David Evey, who happens to be a former activist attorney on the Downtown East Side, recently said the state should “make a conclusion” and “play a leading role” in the neighborhood.

Eby told Simi Sala on CKNW last month: The City doesn’t have the resources to see (the Downtown Eastside) as a cohesive whole, including all the state programs going on there. ”

Vancouver’s new mayor, Ken Shim, declined to say whether Palmer supported seeking a state-appointed commissioner to oversee the area.

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“I respect Chief Palmer and that is his opinion. I think we should be more collaborative. No,” Sim said.

The HelpSeeker report’s eye-catching big numbers show that $5 billion is spent annually on Vancouver’s social safety net.

Ken Sim in the Vancouver, BC mayoral election at Vancouver City Hall on Wednesday, October 19, 2022. Sim defeated Kennedy Stewart in his October 15th civil election. (Photo by Jason Payne/PNG)
Ken Sim in the Vancouver, BC mayoral election at Vancouver City Hall on Wednesday, October 19, 2022. Sim defeated Kennedy Stewart in his October 15th civil election. (Photo by Jason Payne/PNG) Photo by Jason Payne /PNG

The number attracted a lot of attention and public commentary after Global reported it. As Glacier Media columnist Rob Shaw wrote on Tuesday, the money, some believe, includes only social service providers downtown, including the East Side and all of Vancouver. not. Security, and tax benefits for children. It also included statewide services such as the Legal Services Institute.

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Shim said he didn’t put much effort into the calculations in the report, saying the numbers were difficult to source and “prompted more questions than answers.”

“I don’t think it will help much,” Sim said. “A report that promotes transparency, accountability and collaboration is something we look at, but other than that, it didn’t help much.”

Palmer backed the HelpSeeker report’s figures, saying the $5 billion total “isn’t overstated, it’s actually underestimated.”

Palmer said the writing and publishing of the report was “not about making more money for the police. There were certainly political promises, but that’s a whole other lane. It has nothing to do with this coverage.” ”

But these reports happened to be commissioned and released at a time when the relationship between the VPD and local governments was a hot topic among the public, within departments, and in the campaign for this year’s local elections. .

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The “political pledge” Palmer referred to was probably Sim’s pledge to hire 100 additional police officers and mental health nurses to improve public safety (perhaps the most talked about civic movement of the year). This is due to public criticism from Palmer and the March 2021 state budget for Vancouver’s previous council’s attempt to keep the 2020 police budget below what the department requested. urged a formal appeal to

VPD commissioned HelpSeeker for a “social impact audit” in August 2021.

Police independently commissioned the report without direction or involvement from the city administration, city council, or the Vancouver Police Commission.

On March 14 of this year, the state overturned a council decision on the 2021 police budget, restoring $5.7 million to the VPD. Three days later, on March 17th, HelpSeeker delivered the final draft of the report to the police station.

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In September, the Vancouver Police Union broke with tradition and publicly endorsed Sim and ABC. The unprecedented move drew criticism from some, but Sim and his council slate emerged victorious by a landslide.

The release of this week’s report comes as VPD management prepares to submit its annual budget request at its next Police Commission meeting on November 24.

But even before that, the agenda for next week’s first full meeting of Vancouver’s new mayor and council includes a motion from ABC Coun. Lisa Dominato has directed city officials to include her $4.5 million in next year’s budget to hire new police officers and her $1.5 million for nurses working in partnership with the VPD.

The discussion continued at that meeting and will continue thereafter.

dfumano@postmedia.com

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twitter.com/fumano


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Dan Humano: VPD report ‘has nothing to do’ with police budget: chief

Source link Dan Humano: VPD report ‘has nothing to do’ with police budget: chief

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