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Technology Upgrades Part Of 2023 SJPF Budget

By Tim Herd Oct 5, 2022 | 6:00 AM

A Saint John Police Force vehicle sits in front of police headquarters at One Peel Plaza. Image: Brad Perry

The Saint John Police Force (SJPF) has released its proposed budget for 2023.

On Tuesday, the Saint John Board of Police Commissioners approved the budget and sent it to the city’s finance committee for further review.

The overall budget is more than $28.2 million, which consists of salaries and benefits of $23.7 million, and goods and services of $4.5 million.

Goods and services will increase for the force as it was mainly frozen since 2020.

One of the reasons for the increase is due to technology pressures as the force has to update its records management system, increase its body camera system, and segregate data on a separate server.

“Public agencies can never outpace technology — we’re always behind it — but I think for us, we were already behind it and the cyberattack exposed that,” said Chief Robert Bruce.

“It didn’t change anything, it just exposed how bad we were and that our [technology] infrastructure was failing and hadn’t had any upkeep. This brings us up to where we should be, but not ahead of where we need to be.”

Bruce said although the technology upgrades have added pressure to next year’s budget, they are necessary to stay in line with the rest of the province.

Salaries and benefits for next year will also increase as SJPF is looking to hire a civilian non-union body camera coordinator.

The individual will review data, and organize, retain and disclose digital evidence extracted from body-worn cameras following SJPF policies and municipal, provincial and federal legislation.

As well, they will ensure sensitive footage of victims and innocent bystanders is appropriately redacted to protect the privacy and safety of others.

Bruce added that he is satisfied with the 2023 budget.

“We’re trying to be responsible to taxpayers by saying, ‘hey, we are managing the budget, we’re trying to be good corporate citizens, we’re not asking for anything above and beyond, we’re trying to just say this is what we need to run the organization,'” he said.

“I’m really happy the board has approved it because these are things that we have to manage the organization and move forward with.”


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