The Moose Jaw Police Service presented its budget as the Moose Jaw City Council began budget talks Tuesday night.

The Moose Jaw Board of Police Commissioners' 2023 operating budget request is for a net budget of $11.8 million. This includes $13.5 million in expenditures and $1.7 million in revenue.

The request is $613,000 more than in 2022, which would equate to a 1.84 per cent mill rate increase.

Part of the budget is to maintain the police's record management system. The police service is upgrading its management system, which is expected to be completed early in 2023. Previous budget submissions have paid for those upgrades. 

"In terms of the hardware and stuff, we've already got that looked after, but the challenge financially is licensing, the software maintenance agreements and the cost of those just continue to increase so we've included additional requests for funding to enable those pieces," said Chief Rick Bourassa.

Funding is also required for computer-assisted dispatch, in-car reporting, electronic ticketing, the future introduction of body cams, audio and video recording systems in the headquarters building and additional lease space for exhibit storage, equipment storage and operational capacity.

"As an example, at any given time we house over 3,000 exhibits of various sizes, which has forced us to cut out space from our existing areas and redesignate that as storage. With the addition of a number of policing divisions such as our Police and Crisis Team, Combined Traffic Safety Saskatchewan, our integrated child abuse team, our canine unit, our tact team, it has presented some further space constraints," said Deputy Chief Rick Johns

The police are also looking to add a communication and public information position as the Moose Jaw Police Service's communication model has become outdated and Bourassa feels it doesn't meet the community's needs.

When it comes to officers, the board of police commissioners has authorized 64 police officers as of Aug. 1. Due to the Saskatchewan Police College being at capacity, it was unable to provide all of the requested training positions for the Moose Jaw Police Service. The police force is currently at 59 officers with two in training. Five additional officers are expected to be trained in 2023 to bring the force up to its authorized capacity of 64 officers.

A proposed pilot program is in progress to have community safety personnel in public areas throughout the city to increase safety in public spaces and augment police presence.

Aside from the city, the Moose Jaw Police Service is requesting two provincially-funded police officer positions in 2023 to focus on child exploitation and serious crimes such as gangs, guns and drugs.

The police service is requesting $235,000 for 2023 in capital funding and a total of $560,000 for the five-year capital budget. The five-year capital budget includes a base funding of $75,000 in 2023 and increases by $2,500 each year. The police are requesting an additional $160,000 on top of the base funding.

This would cover the ongoing elevator replacement contribution ($30,000), garage door and mechanisms replacement ($10,000), reconfiguration of the detention area ($40,000), exterior building repairs ($80,000) and contingency funding for unanticipated costs ($75,000).

The police budget was tabled for a decision later during budget deliberations.