Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 02/22/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
A senior city councillor has called for a new strategy to reduce ballooning police overtime costs.
Coun. Scott Fielding, head of the protection and community services committee that oversees the Winnipeg Police Service, said the OT bill is too high: "Right now, the levels are unacceptable."
Fielding made his comments after it was revealed a special traffic-ticket enforcement program last year paid out $860,000 in overtime. Much of that money from Project Drive was paid to off-duty police officers called in from other units to hand out traffic tickets.
The fines collected paid for the OT.
Fielding said the city needs to work with police and its new police board to develop a strategy to cut OT. Members of the police board have yet to be named.
He also said the city should examine whether it makes more sense to devote more officers to the traffic unit, which would be cheaper than bringing in officers from other units to work overtime.
Police wouldn't comment Thursday.
Last March, former police chief Keith McCaskill told Fielding's committee that police planned to collect an extra $1.4 million in ticket revenue by using officers from other units to augment traffic enforcement. The service was to spend an extra $1 million on overtime.
Details on Project Drive were obtained by Todd Dube of WiseUp Winnipeg through a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act request. The documents show the total regular overtime cost for Project Drive from June to November last year was $859,522,56.
Dube said Project Drive is one symptom of a traffic-enforcement program that needs an overhaul. He has been highly critical of the city's photo-enforcement program and of how police hand out tickets at certain locations where he says there is improper signage, or where the posted speed limit should be higher. WiseUp released a list Thursday of locations where it wants traffic enforcement suspended until better signage is installed by the city.
"Traffic engineers as their job used to take pride in correcting these things and improving traffic flow and addressing safety issues," Dube said. "They've been hijacked by politics."
Last November, the provincial Highway Traffic Board held public hearings to examine boosting speed limits on sections of Pembina Highway, Dugald Road, Grant Avenue and Waverley Street. The board proposed increasing speed limits to reduce confusion on a number of different speed limits on the same road.
Traffic board chairman Alf Rivers said Thursday the review has been put on hold pending a provincial review of speed limits.
"We delayed it," Rivers said. "There's no point duplicating something that's going to be included in a far wider study."
Highways Minister Steve Ashton has said the goal of the review is to devise more consistent standards for speed limits on Manitoba roads.
Traffic-enforcement locations WiseUp Winnipeg says should be suspended until the city improves signage to better warn drivers:
1 McPhillips Street and Inkster Boulevard (right lane must turn right). Sign should be overhead at intersection and advance-warning sign needs to be posted well before intersection.
2 Ellice Avenue and Empress Street (no left turn). Should be sign at near side of intersection and advance sign before intersection.
3 Corydon Avenue eastbound at Kelvin Boulevard (speed reduction). Sign too high, too far from road.
4 Dugald Road eastbound at Plessis Road (speed reduction). Lack of median sign.
5 Kenaston Boulevard northbound and southbound at Carpathia Road (speed reduction). Lack of median signs.
6 University Crescent northbound at Thatcher Drive (maximum 50 km/h sign posted after enforcement location, instead of before for traffic coming from Chancellor Matheson's 70 km/h zone).
7 Slaw Rebchuk Overpass northbound and southbound (No maximum 50 km/h signs on Salter Avenue, but signs are posted on Logan Avenue, which lacks enforcement).
8 Maryland Bridge northbound (No maximum 50 km/h signs on Maryland, but signs are posted on Wellington Crescent, which lacks enforcement).
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 22, 2013 B1
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Freezing rain cuts power to 3,700 in west Winnipeg
1D, Katy Perry win big at American Music Awards
Tiger-Cats, Stampeders to meet at Grey Cup
Banks leads Ticats back to Grey Cup
Jets fall to Blues, 4-2
NDP accused of trying to stifle conflicts
No road work, but road signs in Manitoba
Bird poop, leaking roofs damaging legislature
Labour laws are hampering youth
Jim Lawson not interested in CFL commissioner's seat
Lapsed veterans funds 'not lost': Fantino
Study to probe reopening Dalnavert Museum
Boy with fake gun dies after shot by US officer
$200M allocated for military mental health
Man facing charges after rings, medication recovered
Two charged after stabbing at party
Jets almost always close
Red Top restaurant runs in the family
They took 'food off the stove'
City dentist charged in sex-abuse case
A matter of faith
Police identify slain woman
Habs draft pick Scherbak injured in WHL game
Putin says he will not be president for life
Police find mom of baby abandoned in Sydney drain
UK police: up to 5 terror plots foiled this year
Alberta wolf cull stabilizes caribou herd: study
Buffalo residents urged to prepare for flooding
Islamic State group recruits, exploits children
Iran: Nuclear talks may focus on an extension
Muslim clerics meet in Iran to counter extremists
Saudi's Mobily suspends CEO amid accounting errors
Roger Federer's Switzerland wins Davis Cup final
Israel mulls hard-line legislation after attacks
Rare jade collection set for Toronto auction
Hamilton answers Rosberg in style to clinch title
Death toll rises to 3 from bombing in Philippines
Afghan officials say suicide bomber kills some 45