City Council will be requesting an increase in the number of police officers allocated for Steinbach.

Michael Zwaagstra is the Chair of the Steinbach RCMP Advisory Committee. He presented at Tuesday’s council meeting saying Steinbach has fewer officers per-capita than most other communities in Manitoba so it makes sense to ask for an increase.

“Right now, we have 16 officers that are allocated for Steinbach, and that works out to just over 1,000 people per officer. The last time that council had requested an increase is 2014, which is 6 years ago. It went into effect and then we got the additional officer in 2015. We know that the population of Steinbach has continued to grow since that time.”

Councillor Jac Siemens asked whether or not this new officer would be dedicated to a specific line of police work. Zwaagstra then noted Staff Sergeant Harold Laninga was looking for a more general solution.

“We did talk about this with the staff sergeant and his preference would be to leave it flexible. I know that when we did our last increase in officers, we did that specifically so we could create the GIS (General Investigative Section) unit. In this case, he felt it would just be helpful if this one could be flexible as to where the officer could be allocated.”

Mayor Earl Funk voiced his support for the proposal.

“Steinbach is served well by the men and women that protect us at this point. They work very hard. They are very diligent and they love our community and they do their very very best. The best way to show them support is to give extra help.”

According to city administration, an extra officer allocated to Steinbach will cost Steinbach between $160,000 and $180,000 per year when all is said and done.

Council voted unanimously to request an increase which will bring the number of full-time-equivalent officers to 17.

Zwaagstra added he is pleased that he serves on a council that is so supportive of police in the community.