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Council approves 2022 Regina Police Service budget

Regina city council voted 7-4 to give the Regina Police Service a budget increase of approximately $4 million for 2022, following an eight hour meeting on Wednesday.

Chief Evan Bray was the first to present to council, outlining the plan to create 16 more police positions, seven more civilian positions and another deputy chief position Bray said would help RPS better manage its resources.

A section of the RPS budget questioned by both delegations and members of the public is the creation of an Aerial Support Unit.

According to RPS, benefits of the unit include the ability to track down suspects more quickly and discreetly, it’s potential role in locating missing people and other benefits in giving police an eye in the sky.

Former councillor and Board of Police Commissioners member Joel Murray told council air support had been discussed as far back as 2017 but was put on the back burner.

The cost of the airplane and associated instruments is roughly $1.2 million but Bray told council much of the cost will be covered by a combination of SGI, Civil Forfeiture and leftover money from 2019.

According to Bray, SGI agreed to contribute thanks to the benefits seen in Saskatoon's program.

Delegations expressed concerns over ongoing operational costs and called for the city to shift more funding to harm reduction and other similar initiatives. Bray said he is open to further discussions on working together with the City on those types of efforts, given the role they can play in reducing police strain.

"What you're talking about is allowing police to respond and get a situation that potentially is volatile and risky under control, then being able to say to another agency this is actually more in your wheelhouse to do," Bray said. "So now there's no risk, we have no charges to lay here, can you take this person and provide them with help?"

Still ahead are more delegations and discussion on the larger city budget proposal getting underway 9 a.m. Thursday. Top Stories

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