By Lethbridge Herald on October 5, 2021.
Chief of Police Shahin Mehdizadeh is clarifying some misconceptions about last year’s budget cuts to the Lethbridge Police Service which have been circulating recently in the community.
While concerning in their impact, particularly over the next few years, Mehdizadeh confirmed the $1-million cut to the police budget enacted by the current council did not result in any layoffs, either among currently serving officers or support staff, at the Lethbridge Police Service. There were also no impacts on front-line service delivery to the community as a result of the cut, Mehdizadeh said.
“The Lethbridge Police Service was able to absorb a $1-million budget reduction in the 2021 budget without a corresponding reduction in the level of service we’re able to provide the community,” Mehdizadeh confirmed. “This was achieved through the use of Budget Appropriation Unexpended funds along with other cost-saving measures including retirements and leaving job vacancies unfilled (in 2021).
“While the Police Service hopes a further $1-million reduction planned for the 2022 budget doesn’t materialize,” he added, “we believe we can continue to provide the same level of service through similar means including putting projects like Body Worn Cameras on hold.”
Mehdizadeh has consistently stated his main concern is if the $1-million budget cut continues beyond 2022. He repeated that concern to The Herald on Monday.
“Once those (2021 and 2022) funding options run out, however, we will be forced to reduce the number of police officers which will translate into reduced level of service to our citizens,” he confirmed.
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