B.C. hires more sheriffs to avert trial delays

Judges paused some cases over courtroom security

After years of attrition B.C. is hiring more sheriffs to guard court rooms.

The province is hiring and training 36 new auxiliary sheriffs in a move expected to help avoid further trial delays from insufficient courtroom security.

It represents a net increase of 30 sheriffs over and above the government’s commitment in June to restore the hours of auxiliary sheriffs that had been cut in May.

This spring’s reductions, equivalent to the loss of 34 full-time positions, and coupled with a shift to a system of roving on-call sheriffs, prompted several judges to raise safety and security concerns and postpone trials.

Acting Attorney-General Shirley Bond said the new recruits should be on the job by December and will “help minimize the risk of court delays resulting from staff shortages going forward.”

Sheriffs’ union spokesman Dean Purdy applauded the increase.

“This is a move in the right direction,” he said. “It will help to ease the pain in the court system.”

But Purdy estimated B.C. will still remain 70 to 100 sheriffs short of the number it had roughly three years ago, before their ranks were reduced through attrition.

Provincial officials contend the gap will be less than half as big as the union claims.

Purdy said sheriffs wages top out at $54,000 a year and many leave for higher-paying law enforcement jobs with the RCMP or Transit Police.

Fifteen of the new recruits will serve in the Lower Mainland. Victoria will get five and Prince George and Kelowna both get three; Fort St. John and Nanaimo each get two; Smithers, Cranbrook and Campbell River get one each.

Bond said the government plans to recruit a second group of new sheriffs starting in January.

Just Posted

Families learn to navigate the perils of the Internet

Speaker talks to Campbell River kids, parents about staying safe in a social media world

‘Priceless’ hat stolen from Indigenous art store in Campbell River during break-in

Ernie Smith, co-owner of Awatin Aboriginal Art, looking for help in recovering stolen hat

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

BC Hydro increasing flow down Elk Falls to assist steelhead migration and spawning

Water flows within Elk Falls Canyon are increasing today to assist steelhead… Continue reading

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

City of Port Alberni cancels tourist train operations for 2019

Steam train to McLean Mill is out of commission for repairs; city wants to re-examine rail costs

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Most Read