The Sheriffs are coming to speed up the court system

The provincial government is hiring 36 new auxiliary sheriff positions, including one in Campbell River, which should speed up the court system.

“Hiring these new sheriffs will help somewhat to restore the bogged down court system,” said B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) chair of Corrections and Sheriff Services Dean Purdy.

“The reduction in the number of sheriffs is due primarily to the hiring freeze that has been in place for the past two years within government,” said Purdy.

“We have lost a number of members to other higher paying law enforcement agencies like the police and sheriffs in Alberta, who earn $15,000 a year more.”

Over the last few years the number of sheriffs in B.C. has gone from 525 to about 385 right now.

Also, on May 27 deputy sheriffs, mostly in the Lower Mainland, had their hours cut dramatically by the provincial government; 28 auxiliary deputy sheriffs had their hours cut by up to 90 per cent, and 24 regular part-time deputy sheriffs had their hours cut by 25 per cent. The net result of these cuts was the loss of 34 full-time staff. These positions were restored on June 20, but the loss was felt even during that short time, according to BCGEU president Darryl Walker.

“The cuts caused a number of trials to be adjourned or stood down, including a home invasion trial and a murder trial, because judges felt their courts were unsafe without the presence of a deputy sheriff to provide security,” said Walker.

“This is a welcome step forward, but the government needs to continue to replace the more than 100 sheriffs that have left to higher paying law enforcement jobs,” he added.


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