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Monday, August 2, 2021
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Core policing will not be compromised by $1 million cut to LPS budget

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LETHBRIDGE, AB – Lethbridge residents can rest assured there won’t be an impact to policing services, at least not for the next few years.

City Council was told this week that core policing will stay intact, despite a major budget reduction to the Lethbridge Police Service.

Council voted late last year to cut the LPS budget by $1 million in order to save money and try and find ways to operate more efficiently financially. That decision was not unanimous as some Councillors disagreed with going down this road.

Councillors were told this week by Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh that the Police Commission will use what’s known as Budget Appropriation Unexpected funds, like a reserve fund, to cover the shortfall.

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“We will continue to deliver the services that we have been,” said Mehdizadeh. “There is no reason to cut programs when we have savings that we can use.”

That means no reduction in actual policing services to Lethbridge residents this year or in 2022. However, after next year, that could very well change when those funds run out.

The Chief says if any policing programs need to be cut in the future as part of the budget, those would be programs not critical to core policing.

The Chair of the Lethbridge Police Commission also spoke to Councillors on Tuesday. Robert van Spronson reiterated that core policing needs to remain.

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“We are committed to providing a high level of service to the citizens of Lethbridge,” van Spronson told Council. “In order to do that we believed we shouldn’t be dropping below the 173 police officers serving our city. With the increase in the drug trade that Lethbridge has experienced so far, the Commission realizes that now is not the time to reduce police service.”

The Police Commission and LPS had be asked to appear before the end of February 2021 to City Council with a plan on operating with the $1 million budget reduction.

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Patrick Siedlecki

Pat has been a mainstay in the CJOC News department from the time the station launched in 2007. He’s been in the position of New Director since then and has been anchoring daily news casts as well as reporting and working behind the scenes.

Community is important to him and keeping CJOC listeners and readers informed about what’s happening across southern Alberta and beyond.

Pat has been in radio broadcasting for the past 24 years, starting in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island in 1997 and then moving up island to Nanaimo for another few years before heading to Lethbridge in 2007.

Pat grew up in the small Saskatchewan farming town of Foam Lake. After high school, he went to Western Academy Broadcasting College (WABC) in Saskatoon prior to moving to the island.

Pat also spent several years broadcasting hockey in the BCHL as well as seven years as the radio voice of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL.

On a personal note, Pat has been working at Cornerstone Funeral Home in Lethbridge as a Certified Life Celebrant and funeral assistant since 2016.

Pat is engaged to Tarah and he has two kids and two step-children.

News and sports have always been Pat’s passion from the time he was a teenager and he’s always been grateful to have had the opportunity to make that part of what’s been a fun and long radio career!

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