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This article was published 2/10/2018 (791 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Winnipeg police officer who is running for mayor says the city needs to get smart on crime.
"I’m tired of seeing what’s happening to our city," Tim Diack said at a press conference in the parking lot of the now-defunct Neechi Commons on Main Street.
The community police officer in Point Douglas said Winnipeg needs to equip police officers with more up-to-date technology and get convicted criminals to help pay for the police resources used to arrest them.
The police service uses a records management system from the 1990s that is out of date and one of the reasons police response time in Winnipeg is twice as long as it is in other Canadian cities, Diack said. With more up-to-date, efficient technology, police won’t be tied up with administrative tasks and can get back to work protecting the community, he said. Right now, for instance, a simple weapons arrest can tie up an officer for up to five hours, Diack said.
The need isn’t to hire more officers, he said — the need is to enable existing ones to do more actual police work. He wants police to have new cellphones with cameras to gather video evidence during an arrest, and figures the upgrades would cost close to $700,000.
"Updating the way evidence is collected will bring these investigations into the 21st century and make our streets safer," Diack said in his "smart on crime" policy on his website diackformayor.com.
At his press conference Tuesday, Diack said he wants criminals to pay — literally. Police should be billing convicted drug dealers and other criminals who can afford to drive around in expensive vehicles for the cost of police resources, such as the officers’ time and things like evidence bags.
Scofflaws and system abusers, not taxpayers, should pay for the costs of police labour and resources, said Diack, who compared it to billing users for ambulance service. He acknowledged that not every criminal would have the means to pay. He said he’s discussed the policy idea with lawyers but hasn’t spoken with anyone at the provincial or federal level of government about how to implement it.
If elected, Diack said, he envisions new signs with a new slogan greeting visitors to the city: "Welcome to Winnipeg — the safest city in Canada."
After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.